Mele Martinez
By: Lauren Bays

Mele Martinez

FY 2018 – 2019

Project: The Molino


The Molino is a book-length manuscript that tells the story of a family and their tamal factory. It explores the conversion of family, faith, and food traditions in the ever-changing downtown Tucson community. The work features visual and metaphoric images including our Tucson city landscape, iconic storefront mural, garage kitchen, and molino (corn-grinding machine)— all gateways into my family’s past and symbols for the processing of our culture and relationships. The manuscript explores the effects of gentrification, poverty, and food insecurity on our family and other Mexican-American families in historic Tucson.


Pictured is Mele and her brother Rick in front of Molino, their family’s tamal factory.


Photo courtesy of: Mele Martinez

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