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Culinary Art

Two Latin American artists find inspiration in food — in very different ways.

En español | Tropical fruits, vegetables, and other native foods have for centuries inspired Latin American artists to preserve those images on canvas. In very different ways, the work of Armando Ahuatzi, born 1950 in Mexico, and Carlos Poveda, born 1940 in Costa Rica, bear testimony to the persistence of a rich culinary heritage that is an essential part of Latin American regional identities.


Ahuatzi touches food through an almost photographic replication that’s nevertheless original and unique, gaining him the moniker “goldsmith of realism.” The Mexican culinary universe seems to come to life with every small stroke of his brush, stirring up penetrating smells and delicate textures.

“I wish to make people look at everyday objects in a different way as they discover their artistic and cultural value,” says Ahuatzi, who uses images like the naked whiteness of an open tropical coconut or an incredibly real sweet drop of juice over a watermelon slice to, he says, “evoke a permanent dialogue between my fellow citizens and our historical past in order to preserve our traditions in these global times.”


In contrast, Poveda creates post-modern tridimensional plates using industrial refuse that entice a new reaction from a wide-ranging public. His stark, provocative still lifes—sculptural plates that he calls domestic landscapes— represent, he says, “an unending flow of energy between life, death and rebirth.” Emotional reactions range from amusement to shock or open rejection.

“I want the sacred character of food, present since the origin of the human race, to dwell in my work,” he says.

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