Arts Collaboratory

Residency

LA VIDA DEL PLÁTANO

As a writer and researcher, my investigations around language and colonialism have pointed me towards the subject of cultural history, and ideas of cultural translation, as well as the question of the global.

How do we place plantain, or bananas, within the larger cultural exchange between Africa and South America? What are the chances that the various social and community practices around this food, exchanged over the Atlantic Ocean, have survived the diversification of both identity and culture of African and South American people in the past 500 years?

Materia prima: Oro, Caña y Coca - Serubiri Moses / ESTO NO ES UN HOTEL

Within the context of globalism, how can we continue to activate the connections across the Atlantic Ocean, some of which continue to carry cultural and social codifications?
Many contemporary artists working within Latin America today, recognize and acknowledge the plantain, or banana, as a cultural and historic iconography. Several writers from South and Central America have also mentioned plantain in their essays, novels, and poems. Similarly, in East Africa, and in parts of West Africa, writers especially have recognized the plantain or banana fruit, as crucial to cultural history.

In Uganda, archaeologists have studied the history of the banana plant, and have thus, reconstructed its role and function within East African culture to be one of great importance. Yet, within popular culture, the banana has appeared most controversially in the play ‘30 Years of Bananas’ by Alex Mukulu, which mixes the allegorical meanings of plantain with
the political history of the country.

In this sense, I am interested in re­activating the cross­Atlantic dialogue through the political and cultural negotiations implicit within the iconography and metaphor of plantain or banana fruit. I am also interested in how one can connect questions of consumption with the question of the global, while at the same time exploring a nuanced and rich cultural
history.

The Spectacle of Bananas - Serubiri Moses / CHARLA

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