Massive old school kitchen tool erected
BY CHANDLER GRIVETTI
A giant sculpture “A Molcajete as Public Art” appeared close to UHD, outside of the Leonel Castillo Community Center this past summer.
The sculpture sits on the south side of the building, giving a perfect view of the highway and the lush green, White Oak Bayou Greenway Trial.
A molcajete, Spanish for mortar and pestle, is a tool used to grind vegetables, spices, and grains that can be used for different recipes.
The ancient kitchen utensil is a necessary part of every Latino home. Seeing the art on display brings back memories of the smell of a home-cooked meal.
“The molcajete is very important to our culture.” Abelina Saenz said.
“It was the most essential tool I used growing up and was a big part of my families kitchen.”
The molcajete originally had artificial guacamole within the basin of the gigantic bowl.
Still, it has been removed recently to avoid damage to the exhibit due to the incoming hurricane season. Today, viewers will find the bowl empty with a drain at the bottom.
Museo Guadalupe Aztlan, Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, and the Houston Arts Alliance sponsored and commissioned Jesus Cantu Medel to create the piece.
Medel founded the Museo Guadalupe Aztlan in Houston in 1994. The museum’s mission is “to promote folk arts of the Americas, to include the Chicana/o and Latino communities.”
The art helps promote awareness of Latino culture. The molcajete is set in a heavily populated Latino neighborhood facing rapid gentrification.
“They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds,” UHD alumna Rachel Contreras shared regarding cultures and communities being uprooted.
“It’s something my mom would say whenever there were hard times.”
Installations like the molcajete inspire communities to unite to eliminate the destruction of their rich history in cities.
The park and open area give families the space to enjoy each other in different festivities. The giant molcajete is also surrounded by playground instruments for children to play with.