Ana Mendieta's ashes are buried in my hometown. Such is my relation-
ship to her. She moved there before I did, and, although we lived there
at the same time, she moved away again before I had ever heard of her.
She received two degrees in art from the University of Iowa eight years
before I began my art degree there. When her father was released from
prison and emigrated to the United States, he was asked to speak to my
eleventh-grade Spanish class about his experiences. Although I was pro-
foundly affected by his description of prison life, I did not remember
his name until I began researching this project. Both he and my Span-
ish teacher have since passed away. I visited New York for the first time a
few months before Ana Mendieta's death. By the time I was truly aware
of Ana Mendieta the artist, I had already moved away from Iowa to live
in Chicago, and she had already been killed and buried in Cedar Rapids. I
have followed her unwittingly and become separated from her unknow-
ingly for over two decades. She knew people I know, went places I went,
grew up in the same landscape, entered the same institutions. Although
the paths of our lives intersect at certain points, I did not know her.
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