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La Extraordinaria Historia de Julia Pastrana, a performance work in progress

November 2, 2016 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Join us for a performance and discussion with Laura Anderson Barbata, the 2016-2017 Lebowitz Endowed Visiting Artist in Residence, about her efforts to get the remains of Mexican citizen Julia Pastrana repatriated to Mexico.

RSVP  |  Directions to the Alexander Library
Parking for this event available in College Avenue Deck & Lots 26, 30

Julia Pastrana, (1834-1860) an Indigenous woman born in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. She was a gifted singer who performed in English, Spanish and French. Julia had a mezzo-soprano voice, played the guitar and was a graceful dancer. She was known to love people and to give generously to charity. She performed for audiences all over Europe and the United States. Julia Pastrana suffered from one of the most extreme cases of congenital generalized hypertrichosis lanuguinosa on record and from severe gingival hyperplasia. Due to her condition, her face and body were covered with thick hair and her jaw was disproportionately large. After her death, her body was embalmed and was exhibited extensively throughout Europe and the United States for over 100 years and later kept at the Schreiner Collection in the University of Oslo, Norway.

In response to Julia Pastrana, Barbata initiated research, correspondence with University Scholars and The National Committee for Ethical Evaluation of Research on Human Remains in Oslo, Norway to present the case of Julia Pastrana before the committee for re-evaluation, with the objective of having her body be returned to Mexico for burial. After nearly 10 years of efforts, in February 2013, at the University of Olso, Norway, custody of Julia Pastrana was transferred to Mexican officials; Barbata represented Mexico. Julia Pastrana´s burial took place on the 12th of February in Sinaloa de Leyva, Mexico.

Proyecto apoyado por el el Sistema Nacional de Creadores, FONCA-CONACULTA, México.

This lecture is in conjuntion with the exhibition Laura Anderson Barbata: Collaborations Beyond Borders


Laura Anderson Barbata, Born in Mexico City and based in New York City. Professor at the Escuela Nacional de Escultura, Pintura y Grabado La Esmeralda of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, México. Her transdisciplinary work has received grants and awards from Bellas Artes and FONCA. Since 1992 has worked primarily in the social realm, and has initiated projects in the Amazon of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Norway, the USA, and Mexico. Her work is included in various private and public collections, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, the Museo de Arte Moderno Mexico City, and Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart, Germany.

The Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series is a program of the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities (CWAH) in partnership with Rutgers University Libraries (RUL). CWAH is a unit in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and a consortium member of the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University. The Estelle Lebowitz Endowed Visiting Artist exhibitions and events are funded in part by the Estelle Lebowitz Memorial Fund.

Rutgers University co-sponsors include: Art Library-RUL, Center for Cultural Analysis, Center for Women and Work, Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA), Department of Anthropology, Department of Art History, Department of Fine Arts-Camden, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Department of Visual Arts-Mason Gross School of the Arts, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Douglass Residential College (DRC), Global Village-DRC, Institute for Research on Women, Institute for Women’s Leadership, Margery Somers Foster Center-RUL, Paul Robeson Galleries-Newark, Zimmerli Art Museum. Additional co-sponsor: New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Laura Anderson Barbata is a member of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores, FONCA-CONACULTA, Mexico; and the Julia Pastrana project is supported by the Sistema Nacional de Creadores, FONCA-CONACULTA, Mexico.


November 2, 2016
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:


Alexander Library, Scholarly Communication Center
Alexander Library, Scholarly Communication Center
New Brunswick, NJ 08901 United States


Nicole Ianuzelli