Sugar Coating: Brazil
This on-going series of public interventions took place in 2004 and 2006. Cake icing was used to create replicas of Portuguese-inspired ceramic tiles that are used to adorn many of the homes and buildings in this area of Brazil. The brightly colored “tiles” are in stark contrast to the dilapidated surface of this abandoned building. As the title implies, this saccharine surface treatment is a temporary façade, serving to reinforce the poverty and crumbling infrastructure of this town. This piece acts as a metaphor for the economic imbalance in many of the sugar producing countries, such as Brazil and the sugar industry as a whole. Beneath the surface of the sugar industry empire lies the reality of its slave labor foundation.
The type of icing used to create these tiles is called Royal Icing. Although it simply refers to the recipe type, it also serves to reinforce the imperial implications of this installation. As the icing used for this project is edible, some of the local children broke off pieces to taste. In this area, sugar is considered a luxury for many and is cherished rather than taken for granted.