Minerva Cuevas


Del Montte—Bananeras








Acrylic paint on wall, acrylic on canvas, acrylic on metal, tins of Del Monte products, metal advertisement panel, wooden table, magazine advertisements, glass jar of paint, hay, magnifying glass, plastic palm trees, postcards, print on canvas and wood, palettes

Credits: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2014

The Mexican artist Minerva Cuevas has dedicated a large proportion of her work to researching archives and documents on the influence of agribusiness on Latin American politics. Cuevas’ work is halfway between a shop window display and a diorama like those found in old natural history museums. She has painted a huge bunch of bananas on the wall in black and white, accompanied within the glass case by two banana plants made of paper and cardboard. The sticker on the fruit stands out, showing the brand of the banana company Fresh Del Monte Produce. The colourful logo has been subtly modified to say “Del Montte criminal, Guatemala struggles for land”. The piece makes reference to the military officer José Efraín Ríos Montt who chaired Guatemala’s government between 1982 and 1983 and was responsible for the genocide of the indigenous Ixil people. Cuevas denounces the complicity of local elites in the abuse perpetrated by the multinational companies operating in banana-producing countries like Guatemala. This piece has been installed in various ways and forms part of a series of works in which Cuevas examines the relationship between certain corporate practises and the exploitation of natural resources like oil, cocoa and tomatoes in Central America. The original piece consists of a mural made by JUMEX which shows a bunch of bananas with a similar logo saying “Del Montte criminal”.