Inspired by Jeremy’s posts on corn statues and tomato experiments in Davis, California, I offer you the “Portrait of a plump tomato”, by Gerald Heffernon. It stands in front of a Davis shop that sells heirloom tomatoes and other agricultural biodiversity (20 rice varieties!).
I wonder if the tomato is celebrated here for the many (industrial use) tomato fields in the Davis area. Gerald Heffernon is somewhat of a fruit specialist: he also made apricot, pear, plum and cherry statues, but food statues are rare in the USA and elsewhere.
As far as I know, and do correct me if I am wrong, the Philippines is the only country where food gets due respect, and the statues that come with that.
I believe the highest density to be in a small area, roughly forming a triangle with 10 km edges, in Laguna province. San Pablo — with its many lakes — has a big tilapia. Victoria, known for its sweet pinya, a fierce pineapple.
Laguna de Bay, the place to eat ducklings-in-the-egg known as balut (not for the faint of heart) has duck statues (here is another good one).
There are plenty of (golden and other) cow statues, in Asian temples, and elsewhere. Do you know of other statues that honor the the organisms that feed us?
11 Replies to “Food on a pedestal”
I found a couple of collections, here (for sale, which perhaps means it isn’t quite Art) and here.
The maize statues reminded me of this one I saw in the village of Pindal in SW Ecuador. It gives recognition to the farmers and maize of Pindal, known locally as the maize capital of Ecuador. Hard yellow varieties are the most common in this part of Ecuador but there is a great diversity of maize varieties with different kernel colours grown in other parts of the country.
Remembered another one, also in Ecuador. “El Choclo” in Sangolqui, Pichincha is a colourful representation of the importance of agriculture in the Ecuadorian Sierra. It was sculpted by Gonzalo Eduardo Crow. Can’t find my own photo from many years back but there’s a nice one here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/angel_miguel266/3980466543/
Kate, thanks a lot, “El Choclo” is very cool.
This post brought back memories of a visit to UC Davis when I was a kid. On summer vacations, my parents would drive the family around California and to UC campuses. From one of these visits in about 1960, I recall a huge tomato model in a plastic box at UC Davis with a sign that went something like, “This is a model of the canning tomato, which was developed in this building. Tax revenues from it would support…” (something huge). I wonder if anyone remembers that tomato model. FYI, that the tomato statue in your post sits in front of the Davis Food Coop.
Don, thanks for adding another layer of meaning to the tomato statue in Davis. The Davis campus of the University of California has been an epicenter of tomato research. Tomato geneticist par excellence Charles Rick worked there, and the University is probably the best source of wild tomato seeds, through the C.M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center.
Not sure this qualifies, as it’s a modern rather than a realistic image, but there is an interesting sculpture called “Dream Leaves” (a series of taro plants) at the new University of Hawaii John A Burns School of Medicine in Kaka’ako, Honolulu. A fitting place, as taro qualifies as medicine in Hawaii – as a source of physical health and cultural wellbeing, as well as a plant used in specific medical treatements traditionally by Hawaiians and in modern medicine. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Apr/23/il/FP604230322.html
Scroll down in the article (about art in public places) to see the image. And right above that picture – a small office-sized “sculpture” – an image of ulu (breadfruit) pickers on a gourd container.
Wonderful. I found more pics of the same sculpture:
Dole had a 100,000 gallon water tower shaped into a huge pineapple which adorned their cannery in Honolulu for decades. http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/March-2010/The-Largest-Pineapple-in-the-World/
Pineapple is now just a minor crop in Hawaii and the fruit in the Dole cans in local grocery stores comes from Thailand. The giant water tower corroded and was cut up for scrap metal.
Go Hawaii! Pineapple now a minor crop? Who knew? Another image from the old days: http://tinypineapple.com/gallery/page/6
Here is a giant squid in Noto in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan