Cintli, Corn, Maíz

36" x 48", Acrylic on canvas, 2020 

"Cintli, Corn, Maíz"

 Covid-19 brought grief to our family, whether it was losing loved ones, the fear of it, or the endless list of activities and community we took for granted. One thing I can say that has come with this grief was a reconnection to land, my ancestral foods through gardening and the communal experience of planting and harvesting with my family. This painting is of corn we grew in our garden, the element of magical realism being the corn husk and leaves that turn into Quetzal feathers. I can't fully explain how it felt to grow this, but it felt like something I didn't know I had longed to do. Corn was domesticated over 9,000 years ago in Meso-America, and is a food I grew up eating being Nicaraguan. I didn't plan to grow corn to paint it, but to learn our nixtamalization process in which we make masa for nacatamales or tortilla. This process (and in context to the pandemic) has also led me to learn more about food sovereignty and to question our current reliance on foods and the injustice and exploitative systems in place. Once again I have shifted my focus on food. Before I completed this painting, I painted a mural on a local community fridge in Baltimore. That was the first time I painted corn. Following the history of foods and the etymology of words are some of the ways I have learned about my own history. I named this piece in three different languages for corn relevant to me: Nahuatl, English, and Spanish-Taíno.

   

The land in which we grew this corn is Piscataway-Conoy ancestral lands, read more on rematriation and how to contribute: https://www.piscatawaylandtrust.org/ 

©2020 by J DeSantis Art.

Baltimore, MD