Pan Am Public Art: Art Across Borders Artist

Sandra C. Fernández

Project: Homage to the Unknown Woman, copper, steel mesh, and patina, 6 * ft. high x 7 ft. diameter

Site 8: Main at Tupper by B District Buffalo Police Department.

In her statement describing the large metal sculpture that incorporates printmaking strategies, Ms. Fernández says: "This work talks about the women of the Americas whose contributions and achievements go under-appreciated because they are anonymous and silent. My work is an homage to all those ‘behind the scenes’ mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and lovers whose names do not appear in the history books as major contributors, but who play the most important role as the support system of those who do."

The sculpture is shaped like a giant patchwork skirt of tin copper sheets attached to a steel wire mesh support. The copper sheets have etched images on them. A large support cylinder inside has been embossed with the title, Homage to the Unknown Woman, written in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese—the official languages of the Americas. The cylinder is pierced with shapes that resemble teardrops and drops of sweat to symbolize the joy and hardships of the world’s strong, anonymous women. Light shines through from the interior of the cylinder.

Sandra C. Fernández was born in Queens, New York in 1964 and grew up in Quito, Ecuador. She returned to the United States in 1987. Her education includes an associate’s degree in visual communications from the Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin, a Bachelor of Science degree in art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also received both an M.A. and M.F.A. In 1993 she took an intaglio workshop in Madrid, Spain.

Currently Ms. Fernández is an adjunct professor at the University at Buffalo. Previously she served as instructor and publications specialist for the Chicano Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 1995 to 1998 she was a lecturer at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, and from 1998 to 1999 she was both visiting professor and gallery director at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois.

During the past nine years, Ms. Fernández has had ten solo exhibitions of her work in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ecuador, Missouri, and here at the Buffalo Arts Studio. Her work has been included in 22 group exhibitions, several of which traveled to numerous galleries and libraries across the U.S. and in Canada and Bali, Indonesia. She received several awards in international festivals and American exhibitions. Publications about her work include "Women of Color in Art, slide resource series Unit III: Latina American," produced by the Women Caucus for Art with the Universal Color Slide Company in Sarasota, Florida. She has created photographs, artist books, prints, and mixed media sculpture.

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