September 1 – December 31, 2022
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
705 Front St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
The inaugural The Land of Milk and Honey exhibition of the 2022-2023 MexiCali Biennial will be held at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. This traveling multidisciplinary arts and culture exhibition focuses on concepts around agriculture in the regions of California and Mexico. Drawing inspiration from John Steinbeck’s portrayal of the region as a corrupted Eden, the biennial presents works that question ethical, cultural and regional practices related to foodways, and the venture from seed to table. The biblical reference of a “land of milk and honey” first became associated with California as a tool for promoting the state as a land of opportunity; a destination for those in search of a better way of life – a terra firma that would provide sustenance and abundance. This boosterism also served as an ethos that fueled “Manifest Destiny” and resulted in land grabs, labor exploitation, ecological destruction, and social injustices.
This inaugural exhibition explores artists’ views around multi-layered topics associated with agriculture including environmental impacts, cultural culinary traditions, identity and migration, regional histographies, and familial and mythical connections to food.
Boo Alejo Sorondo
Enid Baxter Ryce/Luis Cámara/Gabrielle Galanter
Pablo Castañeda and Eduardo Kintero
Carlos Castro Arias
Cat Chiu Phillips
Albert Lopez Jr
Isidro Pérez García
Sol2Soul Arts Collective – [Fernando Armenghol, Yari Montes, Tarisse Iriarte Medina, Andrea YaYA Porras, Viviana Rubi Cruz Lopez]
Jessica Wimbley and Chris Christion
Adjacent projects include The Bracero Legacy Project by artist Daniel Ruanova and Ignacio Ornelas Rodriguez as part of the CommonGround Festival at SCMAH.
The MexiCali Biennial is also honored to be partnering with a NIH-SEPA grant housed at California State University, Monterey Bay along with Artists Ink (Salinas) in exhibiting youth artworks from agricultural communities that address the environment and human health through art.
This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation.
The MexiCali Biennial is a non-profit contemporary visual arts organization that focuses on the area encompassing California and Mexico as a region of aesthetic production. The organization is migratory in nature and showcases exhibitions on both sides of the California/Mexico border. The MexiCali Biennial was originally started as a project critiquing the proliferation of international and regional art biennials and as a result, may be shown at any time and at any location. The MexiCali Biennial was conceived in 2006 by artists Ed Gomez and Luis G. Hernandez. The inaugural round of programming first took place at La Casa de la Tia Tina, an artist-run space on the border town of Mexicali, MX before traveling to Chavez Studios in East Los Angeles.
The Land of Milk and Honey is co-curated by Ed Gomez, Luis G. Hernandez, Rosalía Romero and Enid Baxter Ryce, with April Lillard-Gomez serving as project manager.
IMAGE: Cat Chiu Phillips, Barong PPE. embroidery on Hazmat Suits.