On the day I arrived in Oaxaca, I spent hours absorbing local history at the Santo Domingo Cultural Center. As I was making my way out, I noticed a room that held a special exhibition entitled “El Alimento Necesario” or, “The Necessary Element”. Its walls were adorned with circles that appeared to have messages in them and many were encased in bright colors. It wasn’t until I got up close to the art that I realized that the circles were tortillas. The quirkiness of the medium of choice made me smile.
I liked the duality of the pieces. Beyond the charm of using tortillas for Oaxaca and Mexico themed art, the artist, Guillermo Rito, presented an homage to corn and traditional methods of tortilla making. Corn originated in Mexico, was worshiped by its original inhabitants, and continues to be a staple of the Mexican diet today, often in tortilla form.
The messages in the art were words that represent place and desires for a place. Things like: “Corazon de Maiz” (Heart of Corn), “Tierra” (Earth), “Libertad” (Liberty/Freedom) and of course shout outs to Oaxaca and Mexico. The exhibition was a simple yet exuberant celebration of place:
For a short audio “tour” of the exhibit and discussion with the artist, go here.