I am a visual artist and art teacher, with a great love for chocolate!
I started the Chocolate Arte project out of a concern for our awareness of the foods we eat and where they come from, and of course out of a personal love for chocolate and a growing interest for it's rich cultural history. The project consists of two parts that I am developing simultaneously: a growing portrait gallery of people from all over the world painted in pure chocolate (which is currently visible at thePepperMango in Amsterdam), and an art education program for children about the history of chocolate and cacao. In order to develop the art education program I need financial help, because it involves travelling, research, development of the program and materials and equipment have to be purchased.
About two years ago a documentary on the chocolate industry showing African cocoa farmers who had never tasted chocolate in their life before shocked many people here in the Netherlands, including me: it showed how alienated we are from the foods we grow and consume. That same year I had visited Oaxaca, Mexico and I was impressed by the many ways in which cacao was an integral part of the traditional kitchen and cultural celebrations. It has a complete different status and function in society than here in Europe, where it is mostly consumed as candy. Within this one food, cacao, there is so much history, so many different cultural uses, and at the same time so much ignorance still of it's origins and the current cultivation and productions methods used.
Being a visual artist, I wanted to find a way to show how cacao and chocolate are experienced by people in these three continents in such different ways. I also thought it would be fantastic if somehow they would be able to exchange this cultural knowledge with each other. So I came up with the idea to paint people from Latin America, Europe and Africa in chocolate and to assemble them all together in a growing collection of portraits, in an effort to 'visually reconnect' them, by making them all the same material and color: chocolate.
Making a visual statement is a good way to raise more awareness generally, but for me it is not doing enough so far. Since I am an art teacher and have experience working with children and designing educational programs I decided to also set up an exchange program through art workshops for children of the different continents, in which they learn about the cultural and historical aspects of chocolate and cocoa by investigating them in their own culture and sharing them with children of other countries. This way they investigate their own culture and learn about other cultures at the same time.
DEVELOPING AN ART EDUCATION PROGRAM ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CACAO FOR CHILDREN OF DIFFERENT CONTINENTS
The aim of this project is to set up an art education and cultural exchange program for children of Europe, Latin America and Africa, in which the children discover the history of chocolate and the many diffrent cultural uses through art and cooking workshops, by sending recipes back and forth and by learning about the origins of food, and about cultural traditions in relation to food.
In the end everything the children make and discover during the workshops will be documented and collected in an international art/cook book about chocolate.
for more info please look at my crowdfunding page:
The whole project can be followed on
All chocolate portraits are painted with Chchukululu chocolate from Ecuador, sponsored by www.chocoweb.nl