Listen to Your Gut | Panel Discussion

Michi Meko, Heirloom

Wednesday, April 19 | 6 p.m.
Zuckerman Museum of Art

Listen to Your Gut brings together food writers and artists to explore the ways food and eating translate across genres. These writers will speak about their interdisciplinary work in relation to the themes explored in Gut Feelings  and will expand the scope of those topics beyond visual art to include text narrative, reporting, and scholarly investigations. 

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.


Von Diaz (Moderator) is a food writer, and radio producer at StoryCorps.  Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico and raised in Atlanta, GA, she is also a self-taught cook who explores food, culture, and identity through memoir and multimedia. Her forthcoming cookbook (January 2018, University of Press Florida) uses storytelling and recipes to explore the colonial and contemporary history of the island, the legacy of African slavery in the Caribbean, and the ongoing cultural exchange between Puerto Rico and the mainland. Her work has been featured on NPR, The Splendid Table, StoryCorps, WNYC, PRI’s The World, BuzzFeed, SFA's Gravy Podcast and Quarterly, Feet in 2 Worlds, and Colorlines. Von studied Journalism and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University, and Women’s Studies at Agnes Scott College.

Rebecca Gayle Howell, native to Kentucky, is a senior editor for the Oxford American. Her debut poetry collection, Render /An Apocalypse, was a finalist for ForeWord's Book of the Year and was praised widely, most notably in a cover review by David L. Ulin for the Los Angeles Times, who called the collection "remarkable." Howell is also the translator of Amal al-Jubouri's verse memoir of the Iraq War, Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation. A Library Journal Best Book of Poetry for 2011, Hagar received critical acclaim throughout the U.S., the Middle East, and India and was shortlisted for Three Percent's Best Translated Book Award. Among Howell's honors are fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Carson McCullers Center, as well as a Pushcart Prize. Howell's forthcoming book, American Purgatory, was selected by Don Share for The Sexton Prize; London's Eyewear Publishing will release the book to both the United Kingdom and the United States in early 2017.

Michael W. Twitty is a culinary historian and food writer from the Washington D.C. area. He blogs at Afroculinaria and has appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern and Many Rivers to Cross with Dr. Henry Louis Gates. Twitty has also lectured to over 300 groups. He has served as a judge for the James Beard Awards and is a fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance and TED.  Southern Living named Twitty one of "Fifty People Changing the South.” HarperCollins will release Twitty’s The Cooking Gene, in 2017, tracing his ancestry through from Africa to America and from slavery to freedom.

Michi Meko’s multidisciplinary work mobilizes historic, contemporary, and speculative narratives that are personal and cultural, physical and psychological. Drawing influence from rural southern culture and contemporary urban subcultures, Meko reveals and builds upon the layered symbolism of ordinary and rejected objects, imbuing them with spiritual powers. Central to the work is the consideration of buoyancy and navigation as metaphors for movement through social spaces, geographies, and temporalities. The map is a guide for understanding the past and the present, a metaphor for perseverance and survival.

Image: Michi Meko. Heirloom, 2016. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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