Called a “Mexican terrorist” after a recent show in Arizona, Ana Teresa Fernández’s work is powerful in its command of artistic practice as well as the themes she chooses to tackle.
Born in Mexico, Fernández comes from a long line of political activists, “I think it is in my DNA,” she says. Her mother worked as a documentary photographer along the border and her grandfather was incarcerated for taking a political stance. “They influenced the way that I look at the world,” she says.
She was recruited to attend the San Francisco Art Institute, where people told her: “You are such a weird creature, how can you not think about going to art school?” Fernández moved to San Francisco a week before 9/11 and found a place she belonged.
Fernández remembers walking down the hall on her first visit and feeling mesmerized. “The energy of people being allowed to be themselves," she says, "that was what really got me so excited.”
In a performance art piece called Erasing the Border she asks, “What would the U.S.-Mexico border fence look like painted sky blue?” The result is an uncanny illusion in which the fence looks like it has been erased.