“[By] sharing different cultures and different foods you find out you all got a lot more in common than you think you do – because we are all really eating the same thing – just a different form of it. And just getting together and talking about it … you bridged a gap and you didn’t realize it.”
Customer at Tak’s Cafe
Food is a rich source of complex meaning – it speaks of our culture, our country, our climate, our traditions, our practices, our passions and people – little wonder it is emerging as a significant theme in the My Tribe Open Exhibition.
Among my favourite food works is the image and text “Contributor #3: Charlene” (pictured) by contributor ssa6789. The dish, called Yu Shang, brings people together – to the same plate, even – at Chinese New Year. To me it adds another layer to the old saying that ‘the family who eat together stay together’.
For a completely different take on the connection between food identity, community and belonging check out ‘My Faces’. It is a series of three photographic portraits created using food. The images are reminiscent of Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s famous 16th century painting Vertumnus – depicting a face made by arranged fruit and vegetables. In the notes to the work the artist explains how we see stereotypes before the person;
“My interpretation of MyTribe is that people are thrown into ‘groups’ without any consideration of them as a person. … we judge, we categorise and I believe, we misinterpret.”
And if you find yourself in the area, you should try having “Breakfast at Taks” by Tadashi Nakamura – a warm and intimate video documentary about LA café owner Mary, and the community of regulars who frequent her tables.
More than just flour and water – food can be seen the glue that connects us.