MAMAZ (Mujeres Artistas y el Maiz) is a group of women artists who question and reflect upon the status of native corn in our community. In Mexico, maize is sacred. It appears in codices and in oral histories. However, the native seeds that have sustained the bodies and souls of thousands of generations in the Americas are on the verge of extinction.
The lack of governmental support, loss of traditional farming techniques, the increase in immigration, the growing adverse effect of water shortages and climate change, and the continuing influence of profit-driven companies are all contributing factors to this gradual demise.
As members of MAMAZ, we use art to express our concern about this essential element of our nutrition, livelihood, and culture.
A contemporary art exhibit, entitled El Maiz es Nuestra Vida or Maize is Our Life and organized by Marietta Bernstorff in 2007, was the first opportunity for such expression. The exhibit traces the history of maize and how it continues to be the main food staple in many cultures. It also demonstrates the personal interpretation of each artist as she explores the concepts of cultural memory, biodiversity, genetic modification, and the ever-evolving role of corn in global economics and technology.
The original intimate gathering of concerned voices has evolved over the years into a chorus of visual expression. The Maiz es Nuestra Vida exhibition now includes women from across North and Central America.
As the exhibition travels, more women join forces. Guest curators from universities and other host institutions create their own concept of the exhibition and local artists are invited to participate.
The exhibit also includes educational and other outreach possibilities. Lectures, documentary viewings, and workshops have been offered at each stop along the traveling exhibit’s course. If you would like to bring the exhibit to your community, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about the exhibit and workshop availability, please visit:
If you are an artist, instructor and/or activist interested in leading a workshop for our members in Oaxaca, please contact us. While we don’t have a budget for a salary, we would arrange for a pleasant home stay in our beautiful city.
In order to continue our efforts in raising consciousness about environmental and social issues and training and promoting women artists and artisans, we rely on support from individuals and organizations. Choose one of the following levels: