Mercedes Peña is well known in Texas and California for her vibrant and colorful paintings representing her childhood memories of Cuba. Her family was forced to flee Cuba after the murder of her father, but she returned to her homeland through her art.
In her sculptural installation at Women & Their Work, she moved beyond her retablos’ stories. Newspapered, monochromatic figures inhabited the space beyond the palm tree entry gates, each grouping acting out superficial routines of daily life. These familiar acts belied her obsession with Cuba and her sense of displacement. Unlike the paintings, which hung before the gates, her sculptures told of how Cuba continues to affect her interaction with everything from the mundane to the profound in life. The print on every piece repeated the very word: “Cuba”.