JUNE 1, 2019—SEPTEMBER 1, 2019
Las Vegas artist Justin Favela uses the piñata to spotlight issues related to Latin American and Latinx communities living in the United States. Originating in China, piñatas gained popularity in Mexico in the 16th Century as a way to promote Christianity and have since become a familiar form of decor around the world. Using strips of tissue paper called papel china, Favela painstakingly covers armatures made from common materials, such as cardboard, chicken wire, and Styrofoam, to create his sculptures in collaboration with local volunteers.
In All You Can Eat, Favela’s monumental sculptures reference the complex history and cultural appropriation of Tex-Mex foods, shedding an absurdist light on the cultural narrative of this beloved cuisine. His sculptures highlight the questionable use of the term “authentic,” which is often used to describe Tex-Mex in the food industry. By representing popular dishes in the form of piñatas, Favela draws parallels between the process of making piñatas and important stories that have been lost within common historical accounts of Tex-Mex cuisine.
Photography by Katy Anderson.