A culture sharing exhibition.
Taking its name from an ancient Mesoamerican process, used to prepare maize for making foodstuffs such as corn tortillas, N I X T A M A L is a celebration of ingenuity and an early technology. An exhibition of Illustration works, a talk on the Aztecs and the opportunity to engage in the art of tortilla making.
‘Nixtamal’ is an Aztec word, which describes corn that has undergone a lime treating process. Partially cooked and soaked, in a solution of Calcium hydroxide (slaked lime), which is the resulting compound when water is mixed with quicklime – heated limestone. The Mesoamerican cultures, inclusive of the Aztecs, would grind corn against the limestone found in the riverbeds, and so naturally discovered the benefits of this natural element when combined with the corn, a practice that unlocks key nutrients from the maize.
The process of nixtamalisation was first developed in Mesoamerica where maize was originally cultivated and is still used domestically in this region. There is no precise date for when the technology was developed, but the earliest evidence of this process is found in Guatemala’s southern coast, with equipment dating from 1200-1500BCE.
We asked three Illustrators to produce artwork based on this process, providing an informative subject matter in an opportunity to research and interpret a strong part of another or one’s own culture. N I X T A M A L is a group show featuring work by Adam Bletchly, Oliver Flores and Livi Gosling, Curated by Stephanie Odu.
Adam is an Illustrator/Designer based in South East London. He draws a lot of inspiration from old printed media and typography. Enjoying everything from old adverts and magazines to packaging and clothing. He works using scanned pencil drawings as a guide, replicating the worn out look through use of specially created textures and a reduced colour palette. Though he mainly works digitally, the hand rendered aesthetic is always present with imperfect lines and strokes.
Oliver Flores is a Mexican Illustrator living and working in Guadalajara, Mexico. He has worked for a diverse range of projects in the fields of Art, Illustration and Graphic Design. His images are natural and convey sincerity, capturing the essence of the characters and stories to create a connection with the audience. His work produced for this exhibition entitled Corazón de maíz (Heart of Corn) draws inspiration from geometric patterns found in maize and Mexican basketry.
“I’m an Illustrator who graduated from Falmouth University in 2012. Since then I have been freelancing and teaching children’s art classes part-time. I find inspiration in food and travel and hope to one day illustrate a cookbook. I’m happiest when I have regular cups of coffee, good company and cheese.”
A culture sharing exhibition, with an associated programme of events and workshops, we invite you to participate.
The Art of Tortilla-making – Saturday and Sunday 25th May
The Aztecs – Saturday 25th only
Doodle Plate presents… are a series of projects with the theme of food, stories and cultures shared. Our own discovery of this process came in researching our first project ‘An Illustrated Food Journal’, a collection of food based travel stories, which in its first edition covers the region of Central America. This, our first exhibition, continues the theme of shared stories.