María Magdalena Campos Pons

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María Magdalena Campos Pons
Born (1959-08-22)August 22, 1959
Matanzas, Cuba
Nationality Cuban

María Magdalena Campos Pons (August 22, 1959 - ) is a Cuban-born artist based in Boston. Her many works have focused on history, race, gender, memory, and the formation of identity. She works primarily in photography, performance, audiovisual media, and sculpture.

Early life and Education[edit]

Campos-Pons was born in Matanzas, Cuba, in 1959.[1] Her ancestors were Nigerian-Yoruban, Chinese, and Hispanic. They arrived in Cuba as slaves who were forced to work on sugar plantations and as domestic servants.[2] Campos-Pons trained at the National School of Art and the Institute of Higher Art (ISA) in Havana. She earned her MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 1988.[1]


Between 1986 and 1989 Campos-Pons was professor of Painting and Aesthetic at the Instituto Superior de Arte. She has lived in the Boston area since then[2] and has shown her work extensively in the U.S. and internationally.

Campos-Pons's work is largely autobiographical and has tended to examine her ancestors' relationship with slavery and the sugar industry.[3] Her art has shown in scores of solo and group exhibitions, including solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the Venice Biennale; the Johannesburg Biennial; the First Liverpool Biennial; the Dakar Biennale in Senegal; and the Guangzhou Triennial in China.[4]

Campos-Pons currently teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.[5] She is married to Neil Leonard, a composer and musician at the Berklee College of Music with whom she sometimes collaborates professionally.[5]


Campos-Pons has received many awards and recognitions, including the "Mention of Honor", in 1986 in the XVIIIème Festival International de la Peinture, Château Musée, Cagnes Sur Mer, France. In 1990 Painting Fellowship, The Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta, Canada, in 1992 Foreign Visiting Artist Grant, Media Arts, Canada Council, Canada, in 1994 Bunting Fellowship. Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, Radcliffe Research and Study Center, Cambridge, MA and in 1995 Art Reach 95 Award, National Congress of Art & Design, Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • 2012 Woman of Color Award Boston MA US
  • 2011 Woman of Courage Boston MA US
  • 2011 Hispanic Alianza Award Nashville TN US
  • 2009 The Jorge Hernandez Leadership in the Arts Award, MA US
  • 2007 Rappaport Prize MA US
  • 1997 The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, NY US
  • 1995 Art Reach 95 Award, National Congress of Art & Design, Salt Lake City, UT US
  • 1995 Bunting Fellowship, Radcliffe College at Harvard, Cambridge, MA US
  • 1995 New England Foundation for the Arts, Regional Fellowship, MA US
  • 1992-1991 Foreign Visiting Artist Grant, Media Arts, Canada Council Painting
  • 1992-1991 Fellowship, The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada
  • 1990 Painting Fellowship, The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada
  • 1989 Medal of Honor, City of Guanabacoa, Cuba
  • 1985 Symposium of Scientific Studies, Research Award, Higher Institute of Art, Havana, Cuba

Further Reading[edit]

  • Judith Bettelheim; AfroCuba: Works on Paper, 1968-2003; San Francisco State University Gallery; 2005; ISBN 978-0-295-98476-6
  • Rodriguez, Eduardo Luis (2000). The Havana Guide: Modern Architecture 1925-1965. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 978-1-56898-210-6. 
  • Viegas, Jose (2004). Memoria: Artes Visuales Cubanas Del Siglo Xx (in Spanish). California International Arts Foundation. ISBN 978-0-917571-12-1. 
  • Viegas-Zamora, Jose; Cristina Vives Gutierrez, Adolfo V. Nodal, Valia Garzon, and Dannys Montes de Oca (2001). Memoria: Cuban Art of the 20th Century. California/International Arts Foundation. ISBN 978-0-917571-11-4. 

External links[edit]

  • Watch a lecture by María Magdalena Campos Pons at Boston University on BUniverse.


  1. ^ a b "Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons on Artnet". Artnet. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Smee, Sebastian (12 September 2013). "Campos-Pons’s ambitious ‘My Mother Told Me’ wanders". Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Zadok Gallery". Zadok Gallery. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "María Magdalena Campos Pons". AfroCubaWeb. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Faculty Member Magda Campos-Pons Invited to Venice Biennale". School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston Blog. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2014.