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Montserrat College of Art announces renowned Contemporary Artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons as the 2017 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient. Campos-Pons will hold a free public lecture on Thursday evening, May 18 at 6:30 p.m. at The Larcom Theatre, 13 Wallis St, Beverly, MA. The event is generously sponsored by Eastern Bank. Following the lecture will be an Artist Reception with Campos-Pons’ work on display in Montserrat’s Gallery, 23 Essex Street. This event is free, but registration is requested by contacting Campos-Pons will address the Montserrat community the following day at Montserrat’s 2017 Commencement

Campos-Pons’ work is autobiographical. “It encompasses a larger story. It reveals a history of survival- of a culture, a religion, and a people- from the oceanic voyage from Africa during the slave trade in the 18th century, to its aftermath in Cuba on the sugar plantations, to the present day in the United States. It is a felt history- not one of the rhetorical facts and figures told through non-spoken, fragmented narratives.” Campos-Pons’ work, although an expression of absence and loss, is a celebratory gesture toward a unique and resilient culture.

Her work is an investigation of history and memory, and their roles in the formation of identity. Born in Matanzas province in Cuba in 1959, Campos-Pons bears a familial history that is intermingled with the sugar industry’s presence in her hometown of La Vega. Her roots can be traced from America, to a Cuban homeland, to the enslaved who were traded by Spanish colonists and finally back to what is today Nigeria.

Her works have been exhibited in the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, France, Italy, and Cuba. She was represented in the Johannesburg Biennial and has had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Campos-Pons’ powerful attachment to her cultural African heritage is one that she has never experienced directly but its presence in the rites and myths of her childhood make her a Cuban transplanted in the United States, an exile twice over.

We are extremely honored to have an artist of Ms. Campos-Pons’ caliber speaking to our graduates,” said Stephen D. Immerman, president of the college. “Her successful career both in the US and abroad will be inspirational to our community. We are excited to welcome her to the campus.” Campos-Pons joins a long list of illustrious commencement speakers at Montserrat including Bryan Konietzko, Wangechi Mutu, Matthew Ritchie, Gregory Crewdson, Amy Sillman, Jenny Holzer, Janine Antoni and James Rosenquist, to name a few.

Montserrat Gallery will be open for viewing of the 2017 All Senior Show May 1 – 19, 2017 at the college’s main campus building at 23 Essex Street, Beverly, MA.

For further information, contact Jo Broderick at, 978.867.9613 or visit