Food on a pedestal

tomato statue in Davis, California, USA 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!).

Tilapia statue in San Pablo, Philippines 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.

Pineapple statue in Calauan, Laguna, Philippines 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.

Duck statue in Bay, Laguna, PhillipinesLaguna 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?

10 Replies to “Food on a pedestal”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.
    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.

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