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Ron Benner’s Cuitlacoche Corn Roast

Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 5-7pm

A program of Your Disease Our Delicacy (cuitlacoche)

The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery is pleased to host a Corn Roast by London-based artist Ron Benner. The roasting of freshly picked corn is an integral part of the artist’s special summer-long garden installation, Your Disease Our Delicacy (cuitlacoche), at Hart House, University of Toronto. This celebration of the 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. Come out and celebrate the successful harvest, take a tour of the garden and eat some fresh roasted corn prepared by the artist himself.

Over the summer Ron Benner’s garden has grown into a profusion 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 indigenous 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 people and a delicacy by others, cuitlacoche serves as an apt metaphor for the contentious issues surrounding food production and consumption.

Curated by the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery’s 2011-12 Curator-in-Residence Su-Ying Lee, the project received financial support from 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.


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

2013 Annual Corn Roast_Hero

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