Nestled in sideway door in Oaxaca, the art installation titled "ComÃ¡tica" by artist Tania Candiani is a magnificent display of color. Featuring 800 pieces of nopal cacti infested with the cochineal, the work references the regionâs history with exporting the color red to world. The cochineal is an insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the natural dye carmine is derived. The insect lives on certain cacti, feeding on plant moisture and nutrients. In doing so, the insect produces carminic acid which can be extracted from the body and eggs, then mixed with aluminium or calcium salts to make carmine dye, also known as cochineal. Years ago, it painted the world red. Today, carmine is primarily used as a colorant in food and in lipstick. In Candiani's installation, the walls are painted red using a cochineal carmine red paint.