By Katerina Levanttar
Not every day about 150 people gather at one place to see an opening of a new art collection.
This was the night of August 24th 2023 when an art show under the name “Maíz.. y algo más” opened in East Village-like neighrborhood of Roma in Mexico City.
Just like with anything in life, we can never know what each experince can bring, will it rain or snow, will Mercury retrograde start (which it did) and make people stay in versus get exposed to the crowd of other humans presenting opportunities to put on the masks or be as vulnerable as they could.
This was the night when I presented nine pieces from my collection with the vision to stir a conversation about healthy masculinity and human equality. For that I used eggs and corn, very ordinary objects, which I like to use as messengers to deliver my observations gathered on this life journey and stir a possibly controversial conversation. These objects have a very obvious reference to a sexual, and still in some way, forbidden topic. Topic that most people do not question because it’s a heavy load to lift and to even give it attention.
There were many questions regarding the meaning of the collection. My approach was not to feed the curious minds with what I have already learnt from these pieces but give each viewer an opportunity to peek behind the curtain, in a space that allows and encourages it.
So I asked what they felt. What did it look like to them and why. And I received many interpretations, each of which had its own significance. The theories ranged from physical possibility of the body to position itself to the usual view of the masculine the world runs with - aggressive, dominating, more, bigger, pressuring. That is when I allowed myself to introduce a different version of a masculine - kind, non-competing, loving, accepting, supportive. Strong in its kindness and confidence. I could feel the shift in energy as I were pivoting the conversation. Beautiful, magical process of using emotional intelligence tools.
There were other interpretations that blew me away. Two art works have pieces of corn attached to them. They glow in the dark with the projection of fluorescent lights. Were these the seeds that are full of light that future generations shine with as they go through life having done enough of inner work and relieved of their ancestral weight and healing of past trauma? Did they still have the memory of the old paradigm? How did they manage to overcome the societal pressure and embody a new model of a human?
And then the question of equality would come up. Yes it’s true that we all in Mexico love tortillas which have traditionally been made of corn. And we love tostadas, and chips, and esquites. These are for all. They don’t care about the color of the skin we are born with and what our neighbor or employer thinks of it. They don’t change taste depending on how many possessions one has. And they are to be shared. They bring humans together. And together that’s where warmth is, that’s where inclusion is, that’s where the compassion and healing is.
It felt like between signature corn-based cocktails, piles of pop corn and tacos, my favorite soft house tunes, there were conversations and possibly glimpses of different view of the habitual beliefs. Possibly the beliefs that can be shaken, deconstructed and composed differently, this time with a bit more awareness, a bit more consciousness, and a bit more love and acceptance for each other.