In Conversation With Leonor Espinosa

Transformation Between Art And Cuisine

Through her work, the Colombian chef, plastic artist and activist Leonor Espinosa wants to portray the narratives and the customs of marginalized communities in the Colombian Pacific – and thereby transform their reality.

C&AL: What is the purpose behind the FUNLEO foundation?

LE: The purpose of FUNLEO is to identify, reclaim and reinforce the culinary traditions in Colombian communities based on their biological and cultural heritage. Further, we seek to promote welfare, health and nutrition. We create projects that apply the principles of gastronomy as a vehicle for economic and social development. Those projects then in turn contribute to improving the living conditions in both rural and urban areas.

C&AL: How has your vision of art changed through the work in FUNLEO? And how has your activism influenced your view on gastronomy?

LE: I have been traveling in very diverse territoires throughout Colombia for more than a decade now. It has led me to better understand the social and economic needs of rural ethnic communities settled in biocultural territories and how gastronomic processes can help generate welfare. From my point of view, both as an artist and as a chef, I create realities from experiences framed by research and knowledge as a means to bring forward certain ingredients and let them tell stories that relate to memory and traditional usage and customs. It is a way of connecting different life forms and making them visible. That to me is art.