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Installation image showing a painting and two photographs on gallery wall.

Installation image showing a painting and two photographs on gallery wall.

The de Saisset Museum is excited to exhibit works by artist Ana Teresa Fernández

Fall exhibition (Re)Writing the Narrative includes pieces from three bodies of work by Bay Area-based Ana Teresa Fernández

(Re)Writing the Narrative is on view through December 1, 2017. Please join us on the evening of Thursday, November 9, 2017 for an artist talk by Ana Teresa Fernández’s in the museum's auditorium. For more details about the exhibition and related programming please visit the exhibition page. [Published October 17, 2017]

Ana Teresa Fernández was born in Tampico, México, a southeastern port city that was once a popular spring break destination. As violence began to plague her hometown, Fernández, who has lived in the U.S. since she was 11 years old, turned to art to express her frustration – frustration with the endless tragedies, with the negative portrayal of México in the media, and with the lack of urgency that the rest of the world seemingly felt to resolve the conflicts quickly spreading across the country.

Fernández is an important addition to the de Saisset Museum’s (Re)Writing the Narrative exhibition because she shows us narratives that many of us have heard about in the media, yet she almost challenges us to reimagine them from a new perspective.

However, her work is not angry. Rather, she aims to bring awareness to very pressing issues that inherently have a desperate and compelling nature about them. In 2014, 43 pre-teaching students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College went missing in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico under suspicious circumstances. Fernández had a strong, almost visceral reaction to the horrifying news and the lack of a real investigation that followed. Her responding series Erasure is an experiment in which she paints herself black to see and feel what it would be like to be “erased.” The larger purpose of this series is to ensure that these students are not forgotten, and to remind the world that they have value.

In 2016, the SCU community also continued to grapple with this unthinkable disappearance. Stephen Lee, SCU College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean, produced and installed a tribute to the students in which 43 silhouetted figures were installed along a SCU walkway, each featuring the name and biography for one of the missing students. Lee sought to remind the SCU community that they are “students like you.” Through Lee, SCU also partnered with Montalvo Arts Center to produce XLIII: A Modern Requiem, a performance featuring music, choral singing, and dance to honor the students. Including works from Fernández’s Erasure series hopefully enables our community to continue the conversation and explore the events from a new angle.

Fernández is also an accomplished professor and public speaker. By speaking at schools with large immigrant populations such as UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University, Fernández assures students that their voices are being heard and, in part, represented. Her work is incredibly important in today’s political climate, when the rights and civil liberties of Mexican-Americans are precarious at best.

The two other bodies of work by Fernández included in the current exhibition, Borrando la Frontera and Arrastre, respectively address relations along the U.S.-Mexico Border and the strength and independence of women in response to Mayan history and cultural folklore. Presenting Fernández’s work in (Re)Writing the Narrative is critical in creating space for dialogue and hopefully uniting the SCU community to remain committed to understanding and contemplating complex narratives, both at home and abroad.

For more information on Ana Teresa Fernández check out the TEDx Talk she gave earlier this year.


Join us on Thursday, November 9, 2017 for an artist lecture by Ana Teresa Fernández.

Please join us for an artist talk with Ana Teresa Fernández's in which she will discuss her works on display in this exhibition, as well as other bodies of work and her practice overall. The lecture will be followed by ample time for Q&A. This event is free and open to the public.

For more details about the exhibition and artist talk please visit the exhibition page.



This article was written by SCU Student Emily Lindsay who works at the de Saisset Museum as the Marketing and Special Projects Assistant.



Installation shot of exhibition (Re)Writing the Narrative featuring Fernández's Erasure 5 (performance documentation), 2016, oil on canvas, and two photographic prints on silver dibond from her Arrastre series.