Simmer: The Politics of Food
September 4 – October 9, 2016
Opening September 4, 2016 from 4 - 6 PM
Curated by Jiwoon Yoon
Artists: Rola Khayyat, Rafram Chaddad, Omar Castaneda, Lara Baladi, He Xiangyu, Elia Nurvista, Sharif Waked
“Simmer” brings together 6 artists from over 3 continents, many of whom live and work internationally. This exhibition looks at art from beyond the confines familiar to the New York art world. The assembled works investigate the politics of food through the individualized creative practices of artists from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South America and North Africa, in effect illuminating local histories, political identities and economic realities. Food in its universality is both a way of approaching and understanding the world,just as much as it is a medium for producing art.
Omar Castaneda (Colombia), and He Xiangyu (China) explore the ‘edible’ landscapes of globalized capitalism, and the material transformations of certain products plucked out of these landscapes. Castaneda’s ‘Panela Project’ takes the viewers on a Panela (molasses) journey from the table to the fuel tank. Similarly, He Xiangyu speaks to the globalization of cultural history by recreating Song Dynasty Paintings of Landscapes from ink he makes from the crystals of thousands of litres of cola drink.
For artists like Sharif Waked (Palestine) and Elia Nurvista (Indonesia), the political, cultural, social peculiarities and particularities of the ‘dining experience’ are addressed further. Sharif Waked’ s ‘Khumus’ brings to the table the fragile political reality of the Palestinian-Israeli situation, by provoking a culinary debate with roots entrenched in a long standing political schism. Elia Nurvista’s ‘Hunger Inc’ installation also spotlights issues of social inequality, urging the public to reexamine its definition of poverty within a socio-political and cultural context.
Trickling into the more personally political arena, Rafram Chaddad (Tunisia) allows his childhood memories of a Tunisian Jewish meal (Maltuta) to be the base of his political and social commentary on black/white food associations. Through a constellation of arabic coffee cups, Lara Baladi (Egypt/Lebanon) interweaves personal experiences and memories of her father, with a questioning of the social conditions, traditions and circumstances of the world around her.
“Simmer” highlights specific cities and art scenes while emphasizing the importance of dialogues that extend cross-culturally, and internationally.
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