Memories of nixtamal
Morelia City, Mexico: 2021. Unique. A collection of unbound pages housed in a circular woven chuspata tortilla box covered in a traditional Mexican embroidered tablecloth. The pages are printed using etchings and images transfers on handmade jonote, Japanese, and cotton papers with inclusions of natural fibers, gold flecks, and objects. Each page or "tortilla" depicts meaningful objects, people, and memories from the artist's life. It includes a self-portrait of the artist as a girl, Frida Kahlo (an influential artist), encapsulated segments of embroideries and dried plants, shells brought from the artist's trips to sea (memories from her happy place), and family portraits. This book is my "'tortilla-page-memory', past and present, all in a single container, together randomly, memories like tortillas - a daily food. My past and my present are together" (Akhmadeeva).
The container for this book is a traditional box used to serve tortillas. It was made from an aquatic plant (chuspata) from state of Michoacán in Mexico. To keep the tortillas warm, they are wrapped in an embroidered tablecloth and then kept in this box on the table at mealtime. Included with this book is an antique Mexican tablecloth with a geometric design, given to the artist from a friend. It is hand-embroidered and had been passed down in her family through several generations. Modern Mexican tablecloths typically have floral motifs as women no longer embroider with geometric designs.
This book of memories was created by Russian born book artist Ioulia Akhmadeeva, who has resided and worked in Mexico for nearly thirty years. She uses tortillas to symbolize that she has fully embraced the Mexican culture as part of her self-identity. Several of the pages of this book are on jonote paper handmade by the artist - through a process of kneading, somewhat similar to making tortillas.
Akhmadeeva is currently a full professor of the book arts at the university in Morelia, Michoacán State. Her work is held in international collections including Stanford and Yale. 22 leaves. Size: Box Diameter - 21 cm, Box height - 6 cm