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Awilda Sterling

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Artworks shown are selected from works submitted by the artist in their grant or residency application. All works are copyright of the artist or artist’s estate.

About Awilda Sterling

Headshot of artist Awilda Sterling
Photo by José López Serra, Hidrante

Awilda Sterling’s work encompasses mediums of painting, drawing, mixed media, installation, dance and performance. A native of Puerto Rico, Sterling completed an MFA in Painting/Studio Art at Pratt Institute (1979), where she became interested in performance. She trained in Caribbean dance in Puerto Rico with Sylvia del Villard, and in workshops in Cuba, Trinidad, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St Croix. In 1982, she became a founding member of Pisotón, the first experimental dance artists’ collective in Puerto Rico. In 1985, Sterling was awarded the NEA Choreographers Fellowship. Her work has been presented in Latin America, Europe, US, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. She is a recipient of various awards and artists residencies including the US Artist Fellowship (2010), Tree of Life Artist Grant (2019), Beta-Local's El Serrucho (2019), MASS MoCA Residency (2023), and Rauschenberg Residency (2023). Her latests works include en-cierro (2016-19), a multi-media performance installation; Lacks Criticality (2018), a multimedia dance performance commissioned by Temple University, to be presented at the Whitney Museum in 2023; “con y ton son” (2019), a solo exhibition at Liga de Estudiantes de Arte de San Juan, and ...blindfolded (2019-ongoing), a performance exploration of architectural spaces, presented at the 2022 Whitney Museum Biennial.

Program Participation

Joan Mitchell Fellowship, 2022

Website / Social Links

My installations and performances intertwine marginalities of self-representation and resistance, confronting the silencing and invisibilizing of Afro-Caribbean women. Working with multidisciplinarity, and feeding from Yoruba Caribbean traditions, I transgress the boundaries between drawing, painting, and performance through a decolonizing practice that challenges conventions in Puerto Rican fine arts traditions.”