The University of New Mexico Zimmerman Library is currently featuring the art exhibition, “Food for Thought: Latin American Foods.”
This gallery includes multiple pieces, primarily posters, from different Latin American cultures including Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Panama. According to Garcia and Schadl the exhibit was put together in the hopes of helping people see the variety of places our food comes from. One of their goals was to bring people together to have an interdisciplinary discussion about food so that people could learn from one another.
Santiago Carrasco Garcia, a graduate student in Latin American studies, and Suzanne Schadl, curator for Latin American collections at Zimmerman Library, organized the exhibit.
“Food is a pilar that pulls things together. For this reason, we have tried to collect a lot of material that revolves around food. It is a way to bring the humanities, arts and sciences together, because the materials in (the) exhibit come from so many disciplines,” Schadl said.
For Garcia, the reason behind this is not only about food but also connectivity.
“The idea is to go beyond the traditional thoughts we have about food. To see how it unites us all but also how it creates differences and imbalances and the layers to a society,” he said.
One of the posters featured in the gallery is called, “Brazil Maravilloso,” which translates to “marvelous Brazil.”
This piece was featured because Garcia wanted people to look beyond the colorful image that pops into people’s heads when they think of Brazilian food, he said.
Although Brazil holds colorful food that is rich in culture, the country has more to its story, Garcia said. “Brazil Maravilloso” challenges viewers to consider where their food comes from by revealing that a serious issue in Brazil is deforestation and that the food we eat has an impact on this problem, Garcia said.
“We have chosen to use different geographical areas to pinpoint different important thoughts about food,” Garcia said.
Another piece in the exhibit comes from Puerto Rico. This piece shows café con leche, a drink made from coffee and milk.
The combination of coffee and milk is so common in the United States that people do not think much of it. However, this piece challenges viewers to think about where the coffee they drink comes from, Garcia said.
Because the pieces in the gallery reflect and come from a variety of disciplines, a variety of students should all find this exhibit interesting, he said.
Due to food being a universal part of life, it has the potential to bring people together and to open up for discussion, Schadl said.
“Food is an embodied literacy,” she said. “It something that we all experience, and we all experience it in different ways. It is a table where people from different cultures can come together and everyone there will be able to connect over something.”
The exhibit has the potential to allow people to learn from various disciplines to come together using different expertise to help solve problems or to come up with some understanding that they haven't had previously, Schadl said.
“Our biggest purpose is getting people to reflect on where our food is coming from. Let’s not be oblivious that our food has consequences and that it comes from somewhere else,” Garcia said.
Megan Holmen is a freelance reporter for news and culture at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or on Twitter @megan_holmen.