Once the weapon of choice for ’70s protestors, rotten fruits and vegetables are now being deployed to make another sort of statement, thanks to Brazilian graffiti writer Narcelio Grud.
In his latest video, Tropical Hungry, the artist goes street-urchin in a Brazilian vegetable market, foraging through boxes of wilted lettuce, picking squished tomatoes off a road, and even examining a rotten fish. Then, armed with an impressive rotten-food arsenal (lemons, mangoes, scallions, papaya, and other unidentifiables), he goes full-on ninja on a wall and draws up a pretty neat Forty-Licks–style gaping mouth. (Who’s cleaning up after you, Mr. Grud?)
Whether or not this is a commentary on the appalling food wastage around the world, Tropical Hungry makes for a strangely beautiful video. It’s got rotten food, flies, a somewhat squalid market—stuff that should gross us out—and yet it’s captivating, vivid, and even a little appetizing. When Grud squishes a spoiled tomato against the wall, seeds splattering, juice trickling, all I can think of is biting into a tomato myself.