Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, in 1974, Elsa María Meléndez is a visual artist working with textiles, incorporating printmaking, embroidery, and synthetic materials.
Usually featuring female protagonists, Meléndez develops an antithesis on judgments of the body and sexuality. The iconography in her works introduces the idiosyncrasy of her environment, summarizing debates that respond to the uncertainty faced with cultural destruction, the exhaustion of human relations, the decline in public policy, and the lack of gender equality.
Meléndez received a BFA from the University of Puerto Rico. Her work has been presented in many international group exhibitions and in 2014 she was invited to a mid-career exhibition, “Perreta al argumento: 18 años de producción”, by the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña at the Museo Antiguo Arsenal de la Marina, La Puntilla in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Flamboyán Artist Fellowship in partnership with NALAC, nominated for the 2019 USA Fellowship, United States Artists, and the Lexus Fellowship, and most recently at the Outwin 2022 Competition at the National Portrait Gallery, she was one of the prize winners and also awarded the People’s Choice. First time in the history of the competition that the jury and the public selected the same artist.
Her first solo exhibition in the United States, “Vengo de una isla de confusión” opened at Alabama Contemporary Art Center on September 2022, traveling to the Rollins Museum in May 2023.
Meléndez’s work is held in private and public collections such as The Rollins Museum of Art; Glendale Community College; Newcomb Art Museum at Tulane University; Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte de la Universidad de Puerto Rico; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico; Museo de Arte de Ponce; Museo de Arte de Caguas; Ateneo Puertorriqueño; La Casa de Las Américas in Havana; Lolita Rubial Foundation in Minas, Uruguay.