© 2015 victoriadelgadillo

Democratizing Food in Boyle Heights

From a paper written by Prof. Enrique C. Ochoa February 2014, Democratizing Food Policies: Community Activists and Reclaiming Mexicana/o Food Cultures and Health in Boyle Heights: 

The arts, public art in particular, have been important forms of resistance by marginalized communities and a way for (re)claiming space and cultural identity. Chicana/o artists have long been working to ‘flip the script’ on aspects of culture and community that have been subjects to disparagement and erasure by colonial culture.  Since the Zapatista uprising in 1994, maize has been a growing subject (and medium) in the eastside art community.

  • Much of this work has focused on cultural symbolism and the reclaiming of maize and tortillas as key symbols of Mexican and indigenous identity. for example, the artist Joe Bravo uses tortillas as the canvas of his paintings of a wide variety of Chicana/o cultural icons, thus literally centering tortillas.
  • There is also a growing body of work linking capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy and their impacts on traditional diets and cultures.  For example, many Chicana feminist artists such as members of the artist collective Mujeres de Maiz, are engaged in visual and performance art that examines, class, gender, and cultural resistance.  The exhibit ‘100 Years of [Mexican] Food and Revolution” curated by Victoria Delgadillo and Leslie  [Gutierrez] Saiz at Self Help Graphics in September and October 2010 captured the dynamics of food, culture, gender and revolution in Mexicana/o communities.”

100 Years of Food & Revolution postcard.  Concept: Victoria Delgadillo. Image: Leslie Gutierrez-Saiz

Read the entire paper by Prof. Enrique C. Ochoa here

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