Maternal Thorns

Dimensions Date
18” x 14” x 5.5” 2020
Materials
Two mounds of masa migajon thorns and drywall screws, ink in the formation of Mexican tile designs, and wax on wood panel.
Description
Material list functions as primary description.

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Migajon is a culturally significant craft and is often a resourceful skill utilized by matriarchs as a way to bridge the gap of family need with family income. It involves the creation of a clay body—usually a mixture of glue and day-old bread sourced from the rubbish of local bakeries. Once formed and dried, pieces (usually flowers) are often painted and assembled into domestic decorative pieces and sold at fairs of bazars; the money earned is often used to buy masa (cornmeal) for the family table. Here, the artist uses the tradition of migajon to create thorns and replaces day-old bread with masa and cornstarch (using the material often seen as the end result or  goal of the process) to further navigate the cultural, celebratory, and spiritual associations masa holds in both ancient and contemporary Mexican households.

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Many people focus on the aggressive, protective nature of a thorn; but thorns have a more nurturing purpose than most people realize. Thorns are often used by plants to collect humidity and water and draw these collections into the base of the plant. They also protect the more sensitive parts of the plant from the heat of the sun by casting shadows from direct sunlight.

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Other associations with corn cobs and/or human breasts are also apropos.

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