Global Issues Guest Speaker: Chula Gemignani on Art Activism and GMO corn in Mexico
Chula returns to The Woolman Semester with stories of her experience awakening as an artist-activist fighting the spread of GMO corn in Mexico through art, music, and connection!
Learn more at: www.vivalamilpa.com
An Art Campaign to Protect and Preserve the Heirloom Corn Seed Varieties of Mexico.
Mexico is losing it’s corn to GMO contamination and the importation of commercial corn from the US that has pushed the farmers out of the market. The native “criollo” corn of Mexico is much more than just a plant that gives food. It is a plant that holds the indigenous cultures and languages together, it is the heart and soul of Mexico. We cannot allow it to go extinct.
Viva La Milpa educates and brings awareness to the potential extinction of Mexico’s corn through the medium of art and film. Through the medium of art we empower consumers by giving them knowledge. With knowledge comes more choices and thus empowerment.
We are currently scouting for funds and crew for a coming documentary through which our efforts will ripple out to raise awareness worldwide.
Viva La Milpa artists will join with Oaxacan artists, producing a Free GMO awareness festival in Oaxaca Mexico with speakers, live music, puppet shows and art in March 2012.
Viva La Milpa Artists will also be creating educational pamphlets for the pueblos. In places like Oaxaca where many of the indigenous pueblos do not use Spanish as their given language, but rather Mixteca or Zapoteca, a normal GMO educational pamphlet written in Espanol would end up as fire starter because one simply would not be able to understand it. However, through the medium of art illustration, Viva La Milpa artists will create an illustrated version of a directional on how to identify the GMO corn and get it out of “the Milpa” or corn field so that it doesn’t contaminate the criollo corn that the pueblo’s ancestors have been growing for thousands of years.
Corn is the thread that holds Mexico’s ancient cultures together. This GMO, commercial corn that is infiltrating Mexico from the US has undercut the the farmers prices and many farmers have had to move to the cities or to the US to find other work so that their families don’t go hungry. Only the elderly are left to tend the milpa. Sadly, as farmers are displaced, they often leave their traditions and languages behind. To some this is seen as a social and cultural injustice and through the medium of art, Viva La Milpa educates and raises awareness to protect and preserve the CRIOLLO (native) corn and the cultures that it holds together.