Claudia Pretelin, New York City, 2016. © Image by Bryan Murray

Hi! Welcome to Instruments of Memory. I’m Claudia Pretelin. I’m a Mexican art historian, independent curator, and arts administrator based in Los Angeles, California. This site is my long-term art history documentation project. It has evolved with time and I find myself now focusing on promoting the work of women in the arts through in-depth conversations, exhibitions, and programming with different community partners. You can learn more about me here.

Thanks for visiting!



Image courtesy of the artist.

The abstracted and playful nature of my mindmaps lends greatly to the importance of ambiguity and memory. As I build upon my drawings I dissect and abstract them. It can take weeks to complete an image. As I focus on the colors and composition of the drawing as if they become abstract images. –Victoria Savka

Victoria Savka holds a BFA in Illustration, a BFA in Fine Arts, and a Masters in Art Education from the Rochester Institute of Technology.  She has done residencies at Main Street Arts and The Yards and currently works and teaches in Auburn, New York.

Check out this conversation between the artist and Instruments of Memory here


Instruments of Memory (IoM) is pleased to host “unspoken” curated by Sarah E Webb.

Nearly one in four women in the United States will experience an abortion by age 45 for reasons that are deeply personal. And yet the stigma around abortion has silenced their experiences for fear of repercussion. 

Abortion stories are unspoken stories.

With the anticipated overturning of Roe v Wade, Instruments of Memory presents  “unspoken”, a collaborative project in the form of a digital commonplace book, interweaving stories written by women who chose to terminate a pregnancy with Cynthia Mulcahy’s series Abortion Bouquet: An Action. Mulcahy  makes “abortion bouquets” from traditional abortifacient plants for artists, activists, abortion rights advocates, and allies: contemporary women holding bouquets imbued with the ancient wisdom of midwives. 

Artist Cynthia Mulcahy (left) | Abortion Bouquet: An Action (right)

Cynthia Mulcahy is a Dallas-based conceptual artist and independent curator. Her intermedia works range from large-scale public interventions to small quiet gestures and often defy categorization. Be it a community square dance, farming as street theater, an exhibition examining war or an evening of musical performances to recognize a public city park’s forgotten history, Mulcahy’s research-driven practice often begins in the archive with a desire to re-investigate the historical record for the present moment. Questioning the divisions between various forms of art-related practice, the artist’s work also promotes the concept and practice of art as activism. Mulcahy’s commitment to platforming the work of others through organizing exhibitions has focused on pressing contemporary subjects such as modern warfare and American militarism.


What are the personal and political ramifications of keeping quiet?

Instruments of Memory is seeking short stories (less than 200 words) and poems that address abortion and a woman’s right to choose.

“unspoken” explores the multiplicity of ways stories speak through silence and speech. The project is an offering: visual and verbal tropes of women, of the ways they have (always) been the silent keepers of their reproductive health and safety, and in a (potentially) post-Roe world will be called to interpret and navigate again.

Share your story here.


Sarah E. Webb (left) Anne Leighton Massoni (right)

In conjunction with the online exhibition “unspoken”, don’t miss this conversation between curator, Sarah E. Webb and Anne Leighton Massoni.

Anne Leighton Massoni, is the former Managing Director of Education at the International Center of Photography. Massoni graduated with a MFA in Photography from Ohio University and BAs in Photography and Anthropology from Connecticut College. Her work relates to ideas of both real and fabricated memories and identity. She has exhibited internationally including The Print Center in Philadelphia, NIH in Washington, DC, Newspace in Portland, and the East-End Film Festival in London. Publications include ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art and The Photograph & The Album. She co-edited The Focal Press Companion to the Constructed Image in Contemporary Photography.

Sarah E. Webb’s path consists of many stitches, but at heart, she is a storyteller. From the artist studio to the yoga studio, her multi-disciplinary approach considers both spaces as creative sites of corporeal process and practice. Webb is the co-editor of Singular Women: Writing the Artist, UC Press (2003) and was a member of the 2021 Listen To Your Mother cast, Rochester, NY. She received her MFA from Visual Studies Workshop, and is currently completing her CPA in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University. Webb  teaches  at the University of Rochester and  facilitates writing and meditation retreats on Monhegan Island, ME. 


Daniela Lieja Quintanar. Photo by Raymundo Barrera
Ileana Doble Hernández

Daniela Lieja Quintanar is a Los Angeles-based curator and arts researcher. She is the Chief Curator and Director of Programming at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE). Her curatorial practice takes inspiration from everyday spaces of political struggle and collective forms of knowledge production. Lieja Quintanar research focuses on gestures of collective solidarity and organizing within the Americas.

Ileana Doble Hernández’s socially conscious practice expands to photography, video, installation, and new media. Her works are part of public and private collections and have been shown in publications and venues in North America, Europe, and Asia. Ileana believes that art has the power to make people care. She provokes the audience to think about systems of inequality and the effect of gun violence on children.


Instruments of Memory en alianza con el Museo de las Mujeres de Costa Rica, está preparando una exposición en línea que presenta el trabajo de artistas emergentes y otras de amplia trayectoria que examinan historias visuales de la diáspora africana y los afrodescendientes en América Latina. Con curaduría a cargo de Claudia Mandel Katz (Argentina-Costa Rica), Adriana Palomo (Argentina), Claudia Pretelin (México) y Sussy Vargas (Costa Rica) esta exposición busca dar visibilidad a las diferentes comunidades afrolatinas desde un contexto histórico, político y artístico, enfatizando la importancia de comprender el legado de las diferentes y diversas comunidades negras en nuestro continente. 

Instruments of Memory, in partnership with The Women’s Museum of Costa Rica, presents an online exhibition featuring the work of emerging and established artists who examine visual stories of the African diaspora and Afro-descendants in Latin America. Curated by Claudia Mandel Katz (Argentina-Costa Rica), Adriana Palomo (Argentina), Claudia Pretelin (México) y Sussy Vargas (Costa Rica ) this exhibition seeks to give visibility to the different Afro-Latin communities from a historical, political, and artistic context, emphasizing the importance of understanding the legacy of the different and diverse black communities in our continent. 

Stay tuned!

Before you go…

Don’t miss:


Mara Ahmed (left) Claudia Pretelin (right)

Don’t miss Lost or Found, a conversation between artist and activist filmmaker, Mara Ahmed and Instruments of Memory founder and curator, Claudia Pretelin published by the Mason Street Literary Magazine of Newark Public Library.

In Lost or Found, two women from different parts of the world, find each other in Rochester, New York and begin a long-distance collaboration through personal conversations, stories, and diasporic memories. Read more here


“I think most of the projects I’ve developed over the years have stemmed from some sort of history of my family, or of New Orleans. I am interested in keeping history alive– while connecting it as much as possible to the present.” – Gabrielle Garcia Steib

In our first interview in 2022, we talked to Gabrielle Garcia Steib, a multidisciplinary artist & educator based in New Orleans with roots in Mexico and Nicaragua. For this interview, we discuss her work documenting Latinx communities through photography and film as well with @imagenesdenicaragua, an Instagram feed featuring vernacular photographs and ephemera connected to the social and political history of the country. Read more…

Gabrielle holds a B.A. in English and Digital Media from Loyola University. Her work has been exhibited at NOMA, the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, and Museo de la Ciudad and Los 14 in Mexico City. Her films have been screened at New Orleans Film Festival, Taxco International Film Festival, and Baja California International Film Festival. In 2019 she participated in residencies at the UnionDocs, Joan Mitchell Center, and Antenna. She has written and translated for various magazines including Terremoto Magazine, and Antigravity Magazine where she started the first bilingual column about the Latinx community in New Orleans.