The exhibition’s 48 color photographs, depicting everything from American drive-thru fast food restaurants and lavishly stocked bakery displays to Cuban food ration cards, waterside markets in Mali, and Ecuadorians cooking in open-air kitchens, documents sharp contrasts and universal aspects of an essential human pursuit.
Long known for their coverage of international feature stories and books on world culture, science, and the environment, photojournalist Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio investigated food and eating habits around the world, documenting a fascinating exploration of comparative world nutrition. For their study, Menzel and D’Aluisio spent time with typical families in each country, discussing their eating habits, calculating a week’s worth of food purchases, and accompanying families to the marketplace to document local customs and traditions.
“Our projects and books are meant to help people see the world in a broader context,” notes Peter Menzel. “The impetus for this project arose in 1997 when we found the children in a remote village in the former Irian Jaya ripping open and eating the little MSG-laced flavor packets from packages of instant noodles. Newly arrived Sulawesian merchants were selling the noodles to the locals who, because of logging, were just beginning to earn disposable income. We wondered about the long-term effects of this highly processed food on the health of these remote people who were already struggling with severe nutritional deficiencies.”
Enhanced by an overview of each country’s environmental conditions and socio-economic status, Hungry Planet uniquely grasps cross-cultural realities, united by one commonality—all humans must eat, but what and how we eat varies wildly.
This unique global portrait was organized by COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts in Napa, California. The exhibition includes interviews with families from Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cuba, Ecuador, Greenland, Italy, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Turkey, and the United States.
The mission of ExhibitsUSA (EUSA) is to create access to an array of arts and humanities exhibitions, nurture the development and understanding of diverse arts forms and cultures, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. EUSA is the national museum service division of Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA). For information about M-AAA and its other programs, click here.