Zea Mays


Zea Mays was realised by Various Artists, anthropologist Patricia Tovar and the weavers association Vida Nueva. The research regarding the current threats to the maize cultivation, and the translation process to drawings, stories, and the production of 107 carpets took about two years.
The assault by agro-industries to a thousand year old culture, and environment was represented through lines, and colors in the abstract drawings by Martaque, and Diederick Dewaere. The transmission to woolen carpets obliged the weavers to rethink their traditional ways of weaving, resulting in an intens working period.
Each carpet thus shows a personal style, expression, interpretation of, and sometimes a struggle with the designs from Various Artists.
The abstract aesthetics of the tangible work of Zea Mays are balanced with the personal experiences, and stories of the participants, collected by Patricia Tovar.


From 2011 until 2013 Various Artists explored the theme Agriculture, and more specific the cultivation of corn in the past, present, and future. The production of maize for non-traditional uses, not related to human consumption is a threat for it's future diversity. Bio-plastics, biofuel, forage, and high fructose corn syrup are all examples of applications that opens the doors for GMO corn.
Recently, Mexico, a region at the origin of a huge diversity of maize, accepted the introduction of genetic manipulated corn into their food system. This decision risks to be followed by other countries, including Europe where GMO hasn't wide spread yet. Longterm research about GMO is insufficient but already proved to be unhealthy for human consumption.
Zea Mays reflects upon this possible future of corn in a visual, abstract way. The basic data for the drawings of ZM are based on this intensive research.
VA chose specific moments in the history of time (outburst of the volcano Vesuvius, ...) and checked the records on mais production and growth of world population.
Data, and research of the past, present, and future of maize, and its relation with feeding of an ever growing global population is being translated in various ways (human mathematics, drawings, carpets).

In a first phase the Endless Drawing by martaque was created. To connect the three data bodies VA used his own Human Mathematics technique that brings him into a trance/loop of work which creates the movement of the Endless Drawing.
In a second phase Diederick Dewaere translates martaque’s drawing into a carpet design. The modernist preference of the architect is clearly visible and translates the scattered, somewhat chaotic drawing of martaque into straight colored lines, bringing the drawing to a more 2D status.
The last translation in the ZM project is done by six weavers of the Vida Nueva association. Six women from Teotitlan interpreted the 107 drawings of Dewaere into different carpets, each with their own techniques and styles. Guided by anthropologist Patricia Tovar, they explored the theme of ZM and infused an important human dimension in the story of ZM.


The three phases of this project that happened over a course of two years bring different dimensions in the content of ZM. Therefor the works, especially the carpet, can be defined into different ways.

Zea Mays // Medium
- translates abstract drawing into tactile woven art piece
- tells the story of the corn and predicts a possible future
- serves as a space for discussion and reflection

Zea Mays // craftwork by Vida Nueva
- 6 weavers worked for one year weaving the carpet
- each carpet is different and shows the signature of all the weavers
- their milpa connects to the content of the carpet Zea Mays

Zea Mays // piece of art by Various Artists
- part of G-ke, a series of 8 projects/installation by VA about Geopolitics
- an abstract piece that is based on political, personal, and artistic narratives