Featuring larger-than-life piñatas depicting a visual feast of Tex-Mex cuisine, from “nachos supreme” to “chili con carne,” this site-specific installation, which is both playful and challenging, is intended to generate conversation about popular culture, the politics of food, and the Latinx experience in the U.S.
HCCC Curator Kathryn Hall explains the central ideas behind Favela’s installation: “Historically, food has been used as a powerful tool to unite people and to disarm adversaries. Through his work, Favela exposes the complex narratives found within the everyday meals people eat. His boisterously Texas-sized sculptures shed an absurd light on the dominant cultural narrative of Tex-Mex cuisine, and those who stake claim on its authenticity, to examine its complicated relationship to Latinx identity in the United States.”
As a queer, brown, first-generation American of Guatemalan and Mexican descent, Favela takes charge of his personal narrative by embracing the medium of the piñata, a craft practice that has a longstanding history in the Latinx community. By cutting strips of paper, known as papel china, the artist meticulously covers armatures made from everyday materials, such as cardboard, insulation, and Styrofoam to create his large-scale sculptures. His use of piñatas, which are common in many households, enables him to speak to issues related to popular culture and to the Latinx experience in an incredibly accessible way.
As co-host “FavyFav” of the podcast “Latinos Who Lunch” and host of “The Art People Podcast,” Favela creates a platform that supports queer people of color and calls attention to hierarchies set forth by Eurocentrism. Starting every episode by discussing their bond over a diverse selection of food, he and his LWL co-host, “Babelito,” aka curator and art historian, Dr. Emmanuel Ortega, critically address the problems that exist in a white-dominated society and seek to correct histories told from a colonialist viewpoint. Together, their voices challenge the status quo and empower others to speak up and make space for different perspectives.
Having exhibited in museums all over the country and abroad, Favela strives to tear down institutional barriers through his artwork and social practice. With All You Can Eat, he references the narratives of the Tejano people and raises awareness of issues related to cultural appropriation, while increasing the visibility of the Latinx community.
Justin Favela: All You Can Eat is curated by HCCC Curator Kathryn Hall.
About Justin Favela
Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, and known for large-scale installations and sculptures that manifest his interactions with American pop culture and the Latinx experience, Justin Favela has exhibited his work both internationally and across the United States. His installations have been commissioned by the Denver Art Museum in Colorado and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas. His latest major project, Recuérdame, is on view in New York City, at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, through September 8, 2019. He is the recipient of the 2018 Alan Turing LGTBIQ Award for International Artist. Favela hosts two culture-oriented podcasts, “Latinos Who Lunch” and “The Art People Podcast.” He holds a BFA in fine arts from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.