Created for the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, 2019

For this year’s Student Lending Art Program exhibition the List Center invited artist Evelyn Rydz to create a participatory installation and site of social engagement for MIT students and the MIT arts community. Rydz creates an intimate table setting to gather, listen, share and create. A La Mesa calls participants to the table to partake in a shared communal meal made up of diverse stories. It is a call to welcome strangers through acts of hospitality, trust and generosity.

 This participatory installation is inspired by Rydz’s ongoing mutligenerational project Comida Casera which uses food and storytelling to connect women and create community. The aim of the project is to bring together a diverse group of women from different fields, neighborhoods, generations, and backgrounds to map ideas of home through food and the women who share their stories. The Comida Casera project seeks to cultivate community and build lasting connections that exist well beyond each event.

 For A La Mesa, participants are invited to sit at the table and listen to stories culled from previous Comida Casera community events. Through a series of drop-in projects and scheduled workshops, participants will use layers of colorful shapes to create step-by-step recipe instruction booklets inspired by the people and food that form a sense of home. Participants will be invited to share their diagrammed recipe stories and contribute their booklets to a shared library exploring the places, people and shared dishes that shape their connections to home.