Bitter Bites: Tracing the Fruit Market in the Global South

Daniel Santiago Salguero, Claudia Claremi and Raja’a Khalid
Curated by Blanca Serrano and Juanita Solano

On View
: October 27 through December 10, 2017
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 12-6p

Bitter Bites: Tracing the Fruit Market in the Global South examines the history, geography, and economy of the fruit market in the contemporary global scene, and reflects on how this phenomenon has shaped cultural identities. Fruits, both nature’s bounty and a man-cultivated good, are the epitome of today’s neocolonial dependencies, especially in relation to excessive consumerism.  The insistence for cheap produce year round has reinforced and exacerbated the divide between “first world” and “third world” and how consumers rarely understand that our cheap bodega fruits are the result of these colonial-based economies. Often regarded as an exotic commodity, fruits have been considered a symbol of the ‘Other,’ a metaphorical representation of the people who harvest the fields, a reading crafted by those who demand the land’s products. This exhibition addresses a series of global networks and everyday experience concerns that approach the topic from different perspectives, mediums, and visual languages through the work of three artists: Daniel Santiago Salguero, Claudia Claremi and Raja’a Khalid.

Historically, fruits have been, on the one hand, cherished for their material value as a trading good and, on the other, desired for their multifaceted symbolic significance. An early example of this can be found in the 1539 mesmerizing mosaic-painting executed with colorful feathers by the indigenous artisans working under the supervision of Franciscan missionary Peter of Ghent in the Viceroyalty of New Spain (current Mexico). A gift for Pope Paul III, this rare artifact was partly meant to demonstrate the humanity of the “Indians” and, consequently, their correct disposition to be indoctrinated into Catholicism. Among the local items depicted in this religious scene are three pineapples. These pineapples visually synthesized what the Americas generally represented for the European viewer at the time: an exotic and fertile land to be culturally controlled and economically exploited. Despite the vast distance between the feather mosaic-painting and the artworks in this exhibition, similar neo-colonialist dynamics can still be identified by looking at the fruit market today, and contemporary artists are still including fruit references in their work that point to these same problematic synergies.

| | | Next → |