America Ferrera to Star in Series About Cuban Artist Ana Mendieta

America Ferrera will next star in a new series about famed Cuban artist Ana Mendieta who died mysteriously at age 36

America Ferrera

Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP | Courtesy

Actress, producer, and director America Ferrera kicked the year off with an Academy Award nomination for her role in Barbie and shows no signs off slowing down. The Honduran American actress is confirmed to make her much-anticipated directorial debut I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughtera film adaptation of the best-selling 2017 young adult novel by Erika L. Sánchez. More recently, it’s been announced that she is next set to executive produce and star in the lead role of the Amazon series Naked by the Window, a TV adaptation of the 1990 book of the same name by Robert Katz. Set in New York City, the show will explore the extraordinary life of Cuban perfomance/video artist, painter, and sculuptor Ana Mendieta, one of the most influential Cuban American artists post-WWII. It’ll cover her entrance into the New York City art scene to her mysterious death falling from a window in 1985 at the age of 36. Cuban American screenwriter Charise Castro Smith, who co-directed Pixar’s Encanto, is confirmed to write and co-executive the series, according to Deadline.

“Incredibly honored and humbled to be producing a series about the brilliant and seminal artist Ana Mendieta with this amazing team,” Ferrera said in an Instagram post announcing the news.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Mendieta migrated to the U.S. with her sister when she was 12 years old to escape Fidel Castro’s regime via the Operation Pedro Pan program which brought Cuban children to the U.S. She attended the University of Iowa, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in painting and an MFA in Intermedia. She discovered her love for art, spirituality, nature, and religion, blending all of these aspects into her work along with themes of displacement, identity, and belonging.

Her explorations of representation were grounded in the intersectionality of identity specifically how race, gender, age, and class operated simultaneously. “As non-white women, our struggles are two-fold,” Mendieta wrote in a curatorial statement for an exhibition of women artists of color. “This exhibition points not necessarily to the injustice or incapacity of a society that has not been willing to include us, but more towards a personal will to continue being ‘other.’”

In 1985 she died after she fell out of the window of the 34-floor apartment she shared with her husband and fellow artist Carl Andre. Andre, while considered a suspect, was later acquitted of second-degree murder in 1988 and the circumstances surrounding her death remain a mystery. She was recognized with posthumous awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 by the Cintas Foundation, which supports Cuban art. “Recognized for her pioneering work in performance-based art and land art, Mendieta made films, photographs and sculptures rooted in conceptual art and in performance as well as in her own search for origins,” it states on their website.

Ferrera seems like a natural choice to embody this role and bring dignity and authenticity to Mendieta’s story considering her vocal support for Latinx representation in Hollywood. In addition to this new role, she will also be co-starring in The Lost Bus alongside Matthew McConaughey based on the true story of a bus driver and a teacher who saved a group of young students from a California wildfire. She will also lend her voice talents to the upcoming Pixar film Elio, which follows the titular character as he accidentally becomes recognized as Earth’s ambassador to aliens. She will play Major Olga Solis, Elio’s mother who runs a top-secret military project. The film, directed by Adrian Molina, the Mexican American co-director and writer of Coco, is slated for release in 2025.

No other casting announcements or release date for Naked by the Window have been announced yet but we’re excited to see Ferrera in yet another project and for Mendieta to get the recognition she deserves.

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