Part of the SPAH Seminar Series, Blanca Serrano and Juanita Solano Roa give a talk on 'La fiebre del banano/Banana Craze'
Since the mid-twentieth century, numerous artists from Latin America and the Caribbean have reflected on the ubiquity of bananas in the global diet and have examined the exploitation of the region’s nations following the internationalization of the banana industry from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Banana plantations provide a starting point for exploration and reflection on the socio-political realities of Latin America. This presentation will explore the role that the banana industry has played in the Americas through the lens of contemporary Latin American and Latinx art. The presentation departs from the digital humanities project La fiebre del banana/Banana Craze created by Dr. Juanita Solano and Dr. Blanca Serrano. Despite the differences between the contexts and historical moments to which the artworks refer in this project, they also shine a light on the shared legacy of the artists. Indeed, since the early twentieth century, the massive scale of the banana industry has affected the development of banana-producing countries in different ways: from the links between the banana industry and climate change, to the impact of foreign-owned companies in the banana trade on social inequalities in farming communities and, finally, to the striking similarity between the journey undertaken by many Latin American migrants to so-called first-world countries and the transportation of bananas from the place to cultivation to the place of consumption. In this presentation we will introduce a brief history of banana plantations in Latin American and discuss some artworks that reflect on the impact of banana extractive practices in the region.
About the speaker:
Juanita Solano Roa is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at the Universidad de los Andes. Blanca Serrano Ortiz de Solórzano is Project Director at the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA). Both are specialists in modern and contemporary art from Latin America and both have PhDs in Art History from The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.
Juanita and Blanca are co-authors of the digital humanities project Banana Craze. This project has been reviewed in the international press, including El País (Spain), El Universal (Mexico) and Hyperallergic (United States), and has been awarded with third place in the international digital humanities award DH Awards 2021 and the Garfinkel Prize in Digital Humanities granted by the American Studies Association in 2022.
Together they have curated the exhibitions Banana Craze (Center for Visual Art Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado, 2022) and Bitter Bites. Tracing the Fruit Market in the Global South (Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, New York, 2017). Their research has been published in the Museum of Modern Art's online journal, Post: Notes on Art in a Global Context, and in the upcoming edited volumes Nourish and Resist: Food and Feminisms in Contemporary Global Caribbean Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2023) and Digital Humanities in Latin America (Bogotá: Universidad de los Andes, 2023).
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link.
Image: Gabriela Bettini, Musa X Paradisiaca, 2019
Oil on linen canvas and wooden frame
200 x 200 cm