Presented by The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the Hart House Farm Committee
Garden Installation by Ron Benner
Invited to undertake a five-month residency beginning in May 2012, Ron Benner is growing a garden of purple Peruvian corn and indigenous flowers and vegetables, in collaboration with the Hart House Farm Committee, in the Hart House Farm Plot on the southwest corner of Hart House, near Queen’s Park Circle.
Cuitlacoche begins with a garden installation titled Your Disease Our Delicacy (cuitlacoche) by internationally renowned, London (ON) based artist Ron Benner whose research into agriculture—its interface with bioengineering, patenting world food heritage, capitalization of bio-diversity in the context of colonial and indigenous histories, and contemporary politics—spans over 35 years.
Your Disease Our Delicacy (cuitlacoche), involves encouraging the growth of cuitlacoche, a pathogenic plant fungus that forms on corn and is commonly known as Mexican “corn smut”. Viewed as both a disease and a delicacy, cuitlacoche serves as an apt metaphor for the many oppositional positions surrounding food production and consumption. Continuing over the cultivation and growing season through to harvest and beyond, parallel public events will include a series of dinners, and informative discussions that address contentious aspects of food production across the three University of Toronto campuses, to create broader awareness of the political implications of the food we eat. All events and activities will be open and accessible to the University of Toronto community as well as the wider public.
The project is financially supported by the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto, as part of the Institute’s 2012/2013 academic research theme of Food, and the Canada Council Culturally Diverse Curators for Residencies in the Visual Arts program.
Additional support provided by Dig In Campus Agriculture, Hart House Farm Committee, Van Horik Nursery Ltd. (London, ON), and Hassan Law (London, ON).
Curated by Su-Ying Lee, Curator-in-Residence, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery. Continues through the summer of 2012
Watch for a corn roast in September.IMAGE CREDIT: Ron Benner, Your Disease Our Delicacy (cuitlacoche), 2012. Courtesy of the artist.