America Ferrera has given us countless stories and the most powerful feminist monologue in decades. However, the Oscar-nominated star won’t stop there. Ferrera will now executive produce and star in “Naked by the Window.” The series is an adaptation of Robert Katz’s book about the story of Cuban feminist icon Ana Mendieta.

Originally published in 1990, the book sheds light on the impact Mendieta had on the New York art scene. “Naked by the Window” also narrates the controversial trial of her sculptor husband, Carl Andre, for her tragic death.

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“I am incredibly honored and humbled to be producing a series about the brilliant and seminal artist Ana Mendieta,” Ferrera wrote in an Instagram post.

But who was Ana Mendieta?

Like so many fundamental figures in the history of art and feminism, Ana Mendieta had to overcome innumerable obstacles.

Born in 1948 in Havana, Ana Mendieta was one of 14,000 Cuban children sent to the United States after the Castro Revolution. Along with her sister Raquelin, Mendieta’s parents sent them to Dubuque, Iowa, in 1961 through the so-called Operation Peter Pan, a program between the U.S. government and Catholic Charities for Cuban children to flee Fidel Castro’s regime.

In Iowa, Mendieta earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in painting and trained under Hans Breder. Her early work focused on blood and violence against women. 

After earning her degree, Mendieta moved to New York, where her career took off. 

Credit: Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago.

Her works were deeply autobiographical and chronicled the abandonment of her native Cuba, feminism, violence, and identity

From performances and photographs to sculptures and drawings, her technique was influenced by Afro-Cuban traditions.

One of Mendieta’s most important works was “Rape Scene” from 1973. In it, the Cuban artist reacted to the rape and murder of a fellow student on the University of Iowa campus at the hands of another student. In the performance, Mendieta invited friends and other students to visit her at her Moffit Street apartment. Upon arrival, the visitors would find the artist naked from the waist down, bloodstained, bent over, and tied to a table.

Her work compelled people to talk about the subject and not let it go unnoticed.

Today, the Cuban artist’s catalog includes countless photographs, sculptures, and even cinematographic works.

Ana Mendieta, Sandwoman, 1983. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

Ana Mendieta’s controversial death

After almost two decades of career, Ana Mendieta died on September 8, 1985, in New York, after falling from the 34th-floor apartment of 300 Mercer Street in Greenwich Village.

The artist lived with her husband of eight months, minimalist sculptor Carl Andre. Just before her death, neighbors heard the couple arguing violently. In fact, some claimed to hear Mendieta screaming “no” just before she fell out the window. For his part, Andre had scratches all over his face.

After a nonjury trial, Andre was acquitted of second-degree murder, which caused a wave of criticism and protests among feminists in the art world.

Now, America Ferrera will play Ana Mendieta in what promises to be one of the most important series about Latina history in recent years.