Tarsila do Amaral / Ana Mendieta / Doris Salcedo / Zilia Sanchez / Monica Mayer

Latin American Artists You Should Know

Female artists in Latin America have faced numerous challenges when getting into the spotlight. Even today, Latina artists only constitute about 2.8% of the artists whose work has been displayed in well-known museums. Here, we’ll review some of the Latina artists everyone should know about.

Tarsila do Amaral

Tarsila is a famous 20th-century artist whose work wasn’t recognized until a few years ago when the Art Institute of Chicago first published the painter’s solo exhibition. Her paintings featured distorted bodies, fractured space, and flattened forms. Since she spent most of her time in Brazil, her canvases were full of collections of female figures and scenes of Brazilian life.

Frida Kahlo

Frida is one of the few female Latin American females to achieve global recognition. She was famous for her colorful painting that included a series of self-portraits that were full of reflection and intimate meaning of her reality. Most of her work explored themes such as femininity and Mexican heritage.

Ana Mendieta

Ana Mendieta was born in Cuba but spent most of her adult life in the United States. After completing her studies, she focused her art career, which mostly entailed painting her body in different contortions. Through her experiments, she was able to create provocative art with materials such as fire, dirt, and blood to address feminist themes such as gender stereotypes and violence against women.

Doris Salcedo

Doris was born in Colombia, but she worked and lived in Bogota. Her art gallery presented installation and sculptures that explored trauma, absence, loss of victims of violence that she interviewed throughout her career. Her series of sculptures spanned over twenty years and were mostly filled with concrete and domestic furniture. Most of her paintings evoked the disruption caused by the violent and repressive politics. As a Colombian artist, she has been subject in Coral Gables art museums including the Perez Art Museum Miami, Guggenheim New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Zilia Sanchez

Zilas Sanchez was among the first painters to reinvent geometric, hard-edges abstraction by introducing undulating forms and shaped canvases evoking eroticism and sensuality. She was born in Cuba and raised in the years of the Cuban revolution. Her work during her early years of life was mostly radical guerrilla paintings that were designed to bring peace. She moved to New York in the early ’60s where she started making shaped painting, which she further developed after moving to Puerto Rico in the early ’70s. Some of her work that featured in different Coral Gables art museum include 3-D paintings such as the 1976 Topologia Erotica.

Monica Mayer

After she was exposed to sexism during her days in art school, Mónica used art as a way to support the feminist movement. During her formal education, she was drawn to themes of feminism, and this is what she carried on throughout her years as an artist. Her Latin art is well known at Coral Gables art museums. One of the outstanding collections is the Polvo de Gallina Negra (Black Hen Powder) that she collaborated with Maris Bustamante. This artwork mainly focused on action-based work with social interactions and media performances.


Over the years there have been a lot of Latin American women that have shaped the art scene. Unlike men, women hardly get the opportunity to stand out. This guide should help you better understand the Latin American women artists that are well-known and whose work can be found in Coral Gables Art Museum.