'Comida es Medicina'

  • BY Cal State East Bay
  • October 5, 2018

Cal State East Bay professor Luz Calvo has a passion for Mexican food created from healthy, ancestral recipes. However, the professor of ethnic studies argues the average American diet has undermined the health of immigrant populations.

Calvo is the co-curator of “Comida es Medicina,” which translates into “Food is Medicine.” The art exhibit, now on display at Galería de la Razain San Francisco through Nov. 2, considers the topic of food justice from Latinx, Chicanx, Central American, indigenous and immigrant perspectives.

“We call the exhibit ‘Comida es Medicina’ because we believe that our ancestral cuisines have a central role to play in healing our communities,” Calvo said. “For us, this healing is as much physical (in relation to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and diet-related cancers) as it is cultural, environmental and spiritual. By eating our ancestral foods, we can reconnect with our ancestors, our cultural practices and our connection to the land.”

The exhibition consists of a wide variety of artistic forms including paintings, screenprints, videos, zines, sculptures, installation and mixed media.

Calvo, who is also the co-author of “Decolonize Your Diet,” said the selected works demonstrate the diverse ways that contemporary Latinx artists uplift indigenous and immigrant food knowledge, while also providing a critique of the exploitation embedded in the current foods systems.

“Several of the pieces provide a pointed critique of the greedy underside of agribusiness, gentrification, appropriation, and the genetic modification of corn,” she said. “Taken as a whole, the pieces in the show powerfully represent the multiple ways our communities are creating bold visions of food justice, decolonization and community healing.”

This exhibition is co-curated by Suzy González with support from the Galería staff.