Smithsonian-featured artist to present OU’s Braun Memorial Lecture

For the 2019 Jean and Fred Braun Memorial Lecture, Oakland University will welcome Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, whose artistic works have been featured in more than 30 museums across North America, including the Smithsonian, the Whitney and the National Gallery of Canada. 

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, whose artistic works have been featured in more than 30 museums across North America, will speak at OU on November 13.

Her work is autobiographical, investigating themes of history, memory, gender and religion, and how they inform identity. Through deeply poetic and haunting imagery, Campos-Pons evokes stories of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, indigo, sugar plantations, Catholic and Santeria religious practices, and revolutionary uprisings.

She was born in 1959 in the province of Matanzas, in the town of La Vega, Cuba, and grew up on a sugar plantation in a family with Nigerian, Hispanic and Chinese roots. Her Nigerian ancestors were brought to Cuba as slaves in the 19th century and passed on traditions, rituals, and beliefs. Her polyglot heritage profoundly influences Campos-Pons’ artistic practice, which combines diverse media including photography, performance, painting, sculpture, film and video.

In the late 1980s, Campos-Pons taught at the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and gained an international reputation as an exponent of the New Cuban Art movement that arose in opposition to Communist repression on the island. In 1991, she immigrated to Boston where she continues to live and work. She has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada, among other distinguished institutions. 

In addition, she has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada, among other distinguished institutions. She has presented more than 30 solo performances commissioned by institutions including the Guggenheim and The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. She has participated in the Venice Biennale, the Dakar Biennale, Johannesburg Biennial, Documenta 14, the Guangzhou Triennial and also is included in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA and Prospect.4 Triennial. Her work has also been showcased in collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Perez Art Museum, Miami and the Fogg Art Museum.

In October 2017, Campos-Pons received the endowed Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Fine Arts at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. 

The Braun Memorial Lecture is supported through The Fred M. Braun Lecture Fund and the Department of Art and Art History. The lecture was established in 1986 by Jean Braun, professor emeritus of psychology at OU, to commemorate her husband's love of the visual arts. The fund provides for an annual lecture in studio art, art history, or architecture.

This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. For additional information, contact Dick Goody at (248) 370-3008.

Chamber Trustees