Event catered by Bishop Winery
The Sustenance, Feasting on Arts and Culture Festival kicked off on a cool Vancouver day in October. Artists, poets, musicians, and activists all gathered in the Roundhouse Community Center for an entertaining and informative evening of food security related activities. The Bishop winery catered the event with tray after tray of fabulous local concoctions, environmental organizations explained their achievements and future goals through various audio-visual displays, and artists spread out their wares for all to peruse and admire.
The Maiz es Nuestra Vida Exhibit created by the MAMAZ collective played a major role on the festival. Artists Marietta Bernstorff, Laura Alvarez, Noel Chilton, Favianna Rodriquez, Adriana Calatayud, Cristina Luna, Mariana Gullco, Emilia Sandoval, Nadja Massun, Lucero Gonzáles, Julia Barco, Luna Marán and Ana Santos expressed their concern about Mexico’s corn situation through collage, photography, painting, and sculpture.
Good evening. As you’ve just heard, I am here to represent our women artists cooperative MAMAZ ( Mujeres Artistas y el Maiz). Our objective is to raise consciousness in our community and abroad about the eminent danger that our corn crops are facing today. We express our concern about our native seeds through our art.
You may be thinking that I don’t look very native, and you’re right. My roots stretch back to Germany, England, and Poland. If I were a plant, I would be the mother of all hybrids. My children have even more mixed up traits. 11 years ago, I exported myself from the United States to Mexico. Unfortunately, my fellow countrymen, including representatives from Monsanto, beat me to it. I would like to think my arrival in Mexico was more benign. Obviously, I am not genetically altered or I would be 6’2” not 5’2” and my offspring would be perfect clones of myself. I think my boys are pretty swell, but they’re not perfect. Now, I am here in your beautiful country because this white girl doesn’t need a visa while my brown colleagues do.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s a fact of modern day life. This is hard to swallow, but what is even harder to swallow is the invasion of genetically altered seeds from my original homeland to my adopted homeland. This is not only devastating for the farmers, but for the consumers and the population in general. The farmers get trapped in a vicious cycle of debt and dependency on foreign seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. The consumers get an expensive, unhealthy product, and the population starts losing its legends, traditions, and cultural identity, which are all centered on corn.
This is a question we mothers and fathers and caregivers of future generations have to ask ourselves not only in Mexico, but all over the world. What can we do to ensure a safe, healthy future for our loved ones?
We, as MAMAZ members, are attempting to go just that through our art. Thanks for your attention. I hope you enjoy the show.
Fotos: Stain Rice
Fotos: Stain Rice