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Ron Benner’s Cuitlacoche Corn Roast

Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 5-7pm

A program of Ron Benner: Your Disease Our Delicacy (cuitlacoche)

The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery is pleased to host a Corn Roast by internationally renowned London-based artist Ron Benner. The roast of freshly picked corn is an integral part of the artist’s special summer-long garden installation, at Hart House, University of Toronto. The celebration of the sumptuous garden is one of several such projects by 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.

Over the summer Ron Benner’s garden has grown into a cornucopia of flowers and edible plants. Accompanied by photo-murals and specimen labels, the garden draws on the rich, but often forgotten history of pre-colonial indigeneous cultivation in the Americas and its contribution to contemporary world food production (tomatoes, peppers, tobacco, potatoes, beans, etc). 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 a disease by some peoples, and a delicacy by others, cuitlacoche serves as an apt metaphor for the contentious issues surrounding food production and consumption.

Continuing over the cultivation and growing season through to harvest and beyond, parallel public events 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.


Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
University of Toronto Student Union lawn
Across from Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle

2012 Ron Benner's Corn Roast_Hero

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