The Secret Life of Fruits and Vegetables by Maciek Jasik
Who is Maciek Jasik?
Maciek Jasik is a photographer who enjoys critiquing Western society's relationship with nature and exploring ideas of identity, representation and self while using color and distortion to reinvent accepted norms.
His series: The Secret Lives of Fruits and Vegetables«
The modern world has taken us away from the origins and uses of fruits and vegetables; we only know them for the flavors and textures they provide. Until very recently, each had its own mystique, mythology, symbolism, and connection to culture and the afterlife.
Not only were blueberries, tomatoes, squash, papayas, potatoes, and pineapples only available in the Americas until the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, but most of what we eat today has been cultivated for thousands of years, from small bitter origins, like eggplant, or after the fact, like wild cabbage that has become cauliflower.
The watermelon originated in Africa as a hard, largely bland melon, but was valued for its ability to keep for months as a source of water; they were buried with the pharaohs to facilitate their journey into the afterlife.
Partly through its influence as a traditional medicine, the pomegranate became a symbol of the afterlife in Egypt – and of Christ's suffering and resurrection in depictions of Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci. The Buddha considered it one of the three most blessed fruits. In ancient Greece, Hades lured Persephone into his underworld with pomegranate seeds.
Mark Twain said that "the peach began as a bitter almond" as it evolved from a pit with minimal flesh over 3 years of domestication in China into a sweet and juicy symbol of long life and of divine powers. Local Chinese magistrates hung peach sticks on their doors to ward off evil spirits.
For Native Americans, gourds and pumpkins were essential to their agricultural approach. They planted “Les Trois Soeurs”, corn, beans and pumpkins together. The corn stalk would act as a natural pathway for the bean vines and the beans would put nitrogen into the soil for the corn. By providing shelter, pumpkin vines would retain moisture.
This series aims to reintroduce those mystical, unseen qualities into fruits and vegetables that have been lost amid the clamor of nutritional statistics. Each offers its own indelible powers beyond our narrow habits of thought.
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