This past September, a graduate student at Goldsmiths University in London dumped 29 tons of carrots on campus as part of his master of fine arts project. Artist Rafael Pérez Evans’s public artwork captured the attention of confused students and onlookers. Many of them took to Twitter questioning the mountain of vegetables outside one of the university buildings in the middle of the city. The event inspired widespread speculation about the display’s purpose.

Pérez Evans states that his site-specific installation, titled Grounding, is inspired by a longstanding form of protest common in Europe. Traditionally, farmers dumped large piles of crops outside government buildings in response to policies harmful to the farming industry. With Grounding, Pérez Evans aims to start a conversation about “the tensions in visibility between the rural and the city.” He hopes to encourage city dwellers to consider ways of reconnecting with the earth.

Pérez Evans also intends for Grounding to contribute to dialogue about food insecurity and food waste in urban environments. However, the artist faced pushback on social media, where some people disagreed with his use of carrots. They criticized Pérez Evans for wasting food, arguing that the artist should have donated the 29 tons of carrots to people suffering from food insecurity instead of using the vegetables for the sake of art. Pérez Evans responded to these remarks saying that supermarkets had rejected the vegetables he included, deeming them unfit for human consumption. He planned to donate the carrots to farms for animal feed after removing the artwork.

What do you think? Does this artist convey his ideas about an important issue in a responsible way or is he contributing to the problem?