The East Harlem Community Supported Kitchen Dinner ran in conjunction with the Barri-O-Rama exhibit at the Taller Boricua Gallery, a group exhibition focusing on the complex nature of East Harlem community. One artist’s work highlighted the lack of accessibility to healthy eating options in El Barrio…
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by Hans Bernier
July 5, 2011
The East Harlem Community Supported Kitchen Dinner ran in conjunction with the Barri-O-Rama exhibit at the Taller Boricua Gallery, a group exhibition focusing on the complex nature of East Harlem community. One artist’s work highlighted the lack of accessibility to healthy eating options in El Barrio.
Hatuey Ramos Fermin canvassed all of East Harlem in his work, which bears the name of the neighborhood. From 96th street to 139th street and from the East River to 5th avenue, Ramos identified every farmers’ market, CSA, Green Cart, community garden, fish market, meat market, supermarket, and bodega in the neighborhood. Taking pictures and creating a grocery map out the sites along the way, the results are not surprising, the bodegas outnumber all the other forms of food distribution. Fermin does not pass a value judgment on the store fronts but simply highlights the facts. The reverse side of the map reads, “La panza rige la mente. El dinero rige la panza” which translates to “The belly rules the mind. Money rules the belly.”
In collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York, the EAst Harlem project collaborated with a group of 7th-9th graders through theNeighborhood Explorers after-school program. The students, led by program coordinator Elizabeth Hamby, took the information from the grocery map and built a working model of the area. The exhibit is a working piece that pulls in information centered on food access to East Harlem.
“EAsT Harlem” also incorporates individual artist collaborators Emcee C.M., Master of None and Marna Chester as part of the project. Emcee C.M., Master of None is participating through his “MOBILIZE: The Portable Pantry” project. He has constructed an interactive “EAsT Harlem Seed and Recipe Library” both in the gallery and outside of the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center.