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Divine Food

Maize, Cacao, and Maguey from Precolumbian to Contemporary Art

    01 Jul 2021 - 28 Feb 2022
  • Senior Curator: Yvonne Fleitman
  • Designer: Tal Gur
  • Bella and Harry Wexner Gallery

Mesoamerica was the most highly developed region of the ancient Americas, encompassing much of modern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and northern Honduras. During the Precolumbian period, maize, cacao and maguey were the most important crops and were considered divine gifts created by the gods for the benefit of humanity. This exhibition will shed light on the way in which these edible plants developed into iconographic symbols during the Precolumbian period; their cultural significance as reflected in original myths, beliefs, and rituals. The reasons why their sacred meaning and value changed significantly following the European Conquest, the rise of Christianity in Colonial times, and the Mexican Revolution. The display will include Precolumbian, modern, indigenous and contemporary works, showing how these ancient plants are reflected in the modern artistic, social, and political language of famous artists, such as Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Flor Garduño.