Throughout the years food has evolved from an essential for survival, into many different forms of art. Food can even be considered “aesthetic based on how the delivery of food appears to our senses” according to Elizabeth Telfer. However, this type of luxury food which is delivered as “art” is not always as tangible for what society believes to be the inferior race, African American. In this enlivening piece of art by Professor Martin Irvine, it is obvious that the quality of food used was not of the same quality as what one would serve in a five star restaurant. It is fair to say, a chef would only use foods that cause the consumer to feel “savored, appraised or thought about” (Telfer). Yet, these leftover scraps would never leave a consumer feeling as satisfied and therefore can not be seen as “art” according to Telfer. Still, that sad fact does not degrade the quality of “art” shown through trash. Marvin states that this photograph demonstrates a “reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”
This masterpiece was inspired by pickers who were working in a landfill at the time. While observing the pickers work, he decided to share their story by recapturing the scene with pieces of trash, peanut butter and old food the pickers had been working with. Marvin even had many of the workers help in making their self-portraits. Mădălina Diaconuwould consider the sense of touch used in the making of this project “a sense of aesthetic experience of fine art.” Most food portraits are created with tasty, delicious, savored foods. But in this case, the items used were anything but that. It can be assumed that the type of people this art represents, most likely do not live in the best of places with the most desirable/healthiest types of food at their disposal. That however is what makes this artwork ironic. The sad reality of these people’s lives is shared in the deeper meaning of this picture. The value of happiness and life of these pickers is very poor, and comparable to the quality of materials that were used to create their self portraits. Fortunately, the meaning of the portrait has greater quality than the actual materials.Through this picture you can imagine how hard life is for these people and come to appreciate everything we are given, even food. This photo to some may bring back memories or cause the imagination to wonder from one thought to another (a type of taste according to Carolyn Korsmeyer). But in the end it shows life and culture and gives us all a reason to be thankful.