On Food & Memory: Catalogue

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This year has been a busy one so far!

My next solo exhibition for the year, titled On Food & Memory opens today – Saturday 18th June at 2pm at Gabriel Gallery, Footscray Community Arts Centre.

For more information visit FCAC website and for those interested in the Catalogue Essay, see below:

Artist Statement

In this audio-visual exhibition On Food & Memory I document intimate stories about food histories and traditions that shape people’s memories.

Memories are of course deeply personal, but they also construct the rich tapestry of social life.  This exhibition explores the connections between food, culture and identity; how food is used in rituals and how it forms sensory memory.

In my journey into personal and collective memory, I wondered, in what ways does food, eaten by individuals, feed collective memory?

The stories in this exhibition offer up many answers to this question. But one thing was always apparent – these are all stories about love.

Artist Biography

Rasha Tayeh is a Palestinian artist based in Melbourne; her work crosses a range of photography, film, sound and installation practices. She is also a nutritionist and researcher, interested in food anthropology and the space where art and health intersect. Rasha’s work draws on themes around phenomenology, identity, feminist issues, spirituality and humans’ place in society and their natural environment.

Her work has been exhibited at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Alderman Gallery (Melbourne), Little Woods Gallery (Melbourne), Sustainable Living Festival (Melbourne), Transitions Film Festival (Melbourne & Adelaide), Environmental Film Festival (Melbourne), Sguardi Altrove Film Festival (Milan), Hidden Features Cinema (Edinburgh), Life Sciences Film Festival (Prague) and the Palestine Museum of Natural History (Bethlehem).

List of works

1. Nazaree Audio 6:42 minutes,
Archival pigment prints, various sizes
 
2. Shu Audio 4:52 minutes,
Archival pigment prints, various sizes
3. Marcelo Audio 6:05 minutes,
Archival pigment prints, various sizes
4. Rasha Audio 6:23 minutes,
Archival pigment prints, various sizes
5. Sonia Audio 4:46 minutes,
Archival pigment prints, various sizes
6. Louis Audio 3:50 minutes,
Archival pigment prints, various sizes
7. Marcella Audio 4:16 minutes,
Archival pigment prints, various sizes
8. Jad Audio 5:06 minutes,
Archival pigment prints, various sizes
9. Edward Audio 4:17 minutes,
Archival pigment prints, various sizes

 

Acknowledgements

I would like to specifically thank a number of people who helped make this exhibition possible. Firstly, my grandmother, Teita Nadia and my mother Raida Dajani who’s unconditional love, support and delicious recipes have continually nourished my soul and inspired this project. My dear friends and community who generously shared their beautiful stories, intimate memories and delicious dishes and took part in this project: Sonia Perez, Marcella Brassett, Nazaree Dickerson, Shu Liu, Marcelo Zerwes, Edward Clarke, Louis Majiwa and Jad Choucair.

Thanks to Janak Rogers for his invaluable support during audio post-production, Tim Ainsworth at Thirds Fine Art Printing and Aaron Wilson for his website support. Hani Tayeh for his helping hands during installation and Sary Zananiri for being my sounding board.

I would also like to thank the talented composers and musicians whose work features in some of the audio portraits: Benoit Charron, Nader Ruhayel and Matt Nicholson.

Finally, thanks to the fantastic team at FCAC for their extraordinary support in presenting this exhibition, especially Bernadette Fitzgerald, Isabel Fitzgerald, Catherine French and Darren Gee.

Lavandula loving

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Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia (formerly Lavandula officinalis) is by far one of my favourite flowering plants.  This aromatic shrub is native to the western Mediterranean, primarily the Pyrenees and other mountains in northern Spain.  It is grown widely in Europe and across northern and eastern Africa, and from southwest Asia to southeast India.

Lavender has culinary and medicinal uses, and is often commercially grown to produce its essential oil, which has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.  The word Lavender is derived from Latin lavare, which means to wash – and has a long history of being added to bath water to calm emotions and relax the body.

You can also drink this sweet smelling herb by adding some of its flowers, picked straight from the garden, to 1 cup boiling water to ward off a headache and unwind before bedtime… it makes a deliciously relaxing tea.

Leaves and flowers, which have a slightly bitter flavour, can be used to flavour vinegars, jams, relishes, cakes, biscuits and cheese.  It’s probably worth trying Lavender honey sometime, the flowers yield abundant nectar from which bees make high-quality delectable honey.

 

 

On Food & Memory

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In what ways does food, eaten by individual bodies, feed collective memory?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this question while researching the anthropology of food.

On Food & Memory is the title for my next exhibition at Footscray Community Arts Centre in Melbourne this coming June.  The show will explore food and memory by documenting intimate stories about food histories and traditions shaping people’s memories.

Memories hold significance on a deeply personal level, and at the same time, construct the rich tapestry of social life. In this audio-visual exhibition, I’ll be looking at how food is connected to culture and identity, how it is used in rituals and how it forms sensory memory.

On Food & Memory invites you to celebrate food, culture and culinary history in a nostalgic reflection on foods remembered, secret recipes and family traditions.

Opening: Saturday 18th June 2016, 2-3:30pm

Exhibition: 16th June – 2nd July 2016

Venue: Gabriel Gallery at Footscray Community Arts Centre

The senses and the sensory

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A sense is defined as any of the faculties – such as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch – by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from inside or outside the body.  
In my current show at Little Woods Gallery, my aim was to create a space where people could really tune into their senses with very simple and familiar stimuli: food & plants. 
In my ongoing research on food and sensory memory, one of the highlights of this show has been the plant installation where I asked people to write down a memory that came to mind when they smell one of the plants displayed. 
 
Focusing on our sense of smell, I called the piece ‘Memory Garden’ and selected herbs that are used in many dishes and often found in home gardens.  There was sage, peppermint, spearmint, garlic chives, Vietnamese mint, parsley, thyme, lemon verbena, oregano, rosemary and chamomile.  
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It has been fascinating coming in to the gallery to read the notes left behind.  There are recollections of places, cities, homes, Bolognese sauce, favourite dishes, tabouli, lovers, parents and grandparents… especially, grandmothers!   
Thanks to everyone who shared their memories, they are simply beautiful. 
This has been a really interesting exploration, especially with my next project in mind, which specifically documents stories on food & memory.  So stay tuned for a more nostalgic reflection.  
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Sense[s]

Pleased to announce my upcoming show at Little Woods Gallery opening 4th March 2016 in Melbourne.

Most art is experienced on a “do not touch” basis – you are kindly asked not to touch the work (nor sniff or lick it, for that matter).

In Sense[s], you are invited to see, smell, hear, touch and taste.  Our senses are at the root of all experience and how we understand the world around us.  Using food as a medium to engage the five senses, this exhibition and its associated public program, will explore the intimate connections we have with food, and deconstruct our sensations and how they relate to one another.

Rasha Tayeh A5 Portrait