"A few months ago I was at a monastery with friends. We were all sitting around discussing life, and I brought up a project that I was working on. I was planning to do a series called "F*ck Monsanto"… basically calling out the huge Seed Magnate for oppressing the world with its monopolistic greed. I thought we were all on the same page about this subject- but my friend Calvin stopped me. "Dude" he said… "you are going about this the wrong way". With a gentleness that I myself could never muster he challenged me to re-think my statements and re-explore the topic. He encouraged me to think of Monsanto through a different lens (think: Wendell Barry, Ghandi, Joan Baez, and yes, even the Bible) Truth be told I was taken aback. It was much easier for me to think of Monsanto as some looming evil, than as something complicated and human. Calvin said that the actual energy to transform something would take a positive statement like "Bless Monsanto". It struck me immediately. In part because it called out my own vulgarities, and in part because it was the hippiest thing I had ever heard.
This series was born out of that discussion. More a look into oppression and provision than an indictment of a corporation. I use the word "bless" because I too want to change the conversation… not just exposing corruption and evil in the world but exposing it in my own heart as well. My artwork tends to explore questions of relationship rather than make specific statements. I am reflecting a world in which the oppressor and the opressee are obscured. A world where food is power and power controls food. I also wanted to play with themes of accountability- exploring who is watching and keeping record of wrongdoing.
Again, none of these are concrete ideas- merely an invitation to further discussion and exploration. This is not a struggle of good vs. evil- but a complicated arrangement of hunger and power."
Jonathan Randall Grant // Winter 2013 // South Bend, Indiana