Dias De los Muertos – cultural exchange – ‘Ofrenda’ making workshops looking at cultural contrasts in how we deal with death and loss:
Greer offers workshop packages which explore the Mexican creative and therapeutic construction of an ‘Ofrenda’ ‘offering ‘ altar to honour and re connect with the dead , these can be adapted for all ages and are a brilliant and beautiful creative practice for exploring themes of grief and loss. She explores the various elements and symbolism behind the items of an altar, talks about her own experiences of death and immersion in Mexican culture during Dias de los muertos festival and can guide you through crafting and constructing your very own ‘ofrenda’.
Additional elements for packages:
-Sugar skull making
– Mini polymer favourite food plates.
-Papel picado making
If this is something that interests you or your organisation please get in contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
First Food Residency – educational outreach program :
‘The resilience series’ looks at Nopal Cactus , edible bugs and the natural food and product colouring made from the insect Cochineal that feeds on the cactus , all of these foods are native to Mexico.
Delivery happened October 2017 @ The Koppel Project ,London.
Workshop Packages :1 – Nopal cactus -’The sacred tree of hearts’ :
At a time when the world is full of fierce and frightening contrasts , heating up and drying out , we look to an iconic plant like the Nopal cactus for inspiration for our own human resilience and survival. As a powerful symbol of resilience + Mexico’s honoured nutritious staple vegetable. In Nahuatl it means ‘The tree of hearts’, it even features proudly on the national Mexican flag and is being developed as a form of fuel.
Learn more about the history , folklore and magical nutritional and health properties of this popular plant whilst constructing your own playful sculpture inspired by its shapes and forms printed and painted with your own honest commentary on social resilience. Speak and sprawl with the heart , build and play with the hands.
2 – Cochineal ‘The colour of cactus blood’: ‘’Cochineal’ is the magical insect that feeds on the Nopal cactus and transforms its juice into a vivid red tint which today exists in many of our daily products. We will play and experiment with this tint and the natural elements that affect its colourful hues, making edible artworks with tortillas and this special pigment.This workshop aims to give a sense of the system and ancient origins of the colour of our food,clothing and products we unknowingly eat and wear. We will paint and learn more about other mythical creatures associated to themes of ‘resilience’ such as fierce Aztec gods and the fascinating self healing Axolotl salamander unique to the fresh water canals of Mexico City.
3 – Edible bugs ‘Cricket chip nicho’ : Edible bugs are our future , as a low-impact great source of protein , it is predicted that these insects will soon become a staple in our diet and great solution to food production issues worldwide. ‘Chapulines’ (crickets) are already common in Mexican cuisine and have been since prehispanic times.Inspired by Mexican eating culture we are going to muse on how do we best introduce this product to the West where creepy crawlies are associated with gore and dirtiness?Participants will be given the task of designing some engaging and stimulating packaging inspired by Mexican ‘nichos’, nichos are mixed media boxes combining various symbology from Catholicism, mestizo spirituality, and popular culture. Items are put in the box to honor or remember.They often use humor and garish glitz to muse higher meanings.We’re encouraging participants to get to know these tasty little creatures and food sources of the future and help promote them as another key element of human resilience in a challenging earth future. ‘ (contact for more details )
Below are some images from the ‘Unicorn Enchilada’ workshop – making edible cochineal painted artworks and sparkly altars to our favourite foods. She delivered this in collaboration with Sally Hackett as part of the Summer 2017 program @ The Centre Of Contemporary Art in Glasgow.
‘When love lies bleeding , squish it into joy ‘ is a creative educational outreach program exploring the potential uses of the magical ,ancient grain : Amaranth as a future food and creative material . Take a look at An interactive Prezi about Amaranth through this link to learn more about it.
This project was developed in Mexico and was delivered in Reading and Glasgow as part of First Food Residency’s educational outreach program 2016 – www.firstfoodresidency.com.–
‘The First Food Residency is an artists exchange between Mexico and the UK, initiated by Antonia and Anna Bruce in 2014. The focus of the residency is to build a creative dialogue between the two countries. The residency is open to artists from all disciplines, who are based in Mexico or the UK. Artists in residence are invited to research ‘essential foods’ from their host country, and are encouraged to meet and work with local people and other artists.
Debates around food sustainability are taking a grip alongside climate change, and educational institutions are starting to include relevant studies in the curriculum. This is an opportune moment to take a creative look at the first seeds, where they started and what they are now, in shape, form, influence and how they fit into our lives, at a real and symbolic level.
The First Food Artist Residency is proud to be an official project with the Mex/UK dual year and sponsored by Arts Council England’
Greer has been working with the project since October 2015 and currently works between the UK and Mexico exploring native foods and crafts tied into First Food focuses as potential themes for creative outreach.