Spring News & Spicy Dinner Parties

Sooooo…. a lot has happened since my last post here and my artist residency at Brunswick Mechanics Institute.  Firstly, I gotta admit, Im just not all that great at keeping up with this blog and social media… so forgive me! But I love that most of what I do is away from screens.  I’ve spent most of my winter in my studio creating, mixing herbs in my apothecary or cooking in my kitchen… and since Spring is (finally) here, gardening duties are calling!  The sun is out and the plants are waking up after a long and cold winter.

Secondly, I was invited to present Spice Trails at Footscray Community Arts Centre!  And what pleasure it was to come back to the Gabriel Gallery at FCAC to host an intimate dinner party over two nights in late August.

Spice Trails performance dinners on 24th and 25th Aug were a huge success. Thanks to everyone who attended and participated in this ever evolving live art project inspired by the Silk Road. And thanks to Footscray Community Arts Centre for making it happen & the chefs at Happy River Cafe for the delicious feast, and the talented crew at Pomp & Splendour for the gorgeous flower arrangements.

The next seating on 26th Oct is now SOLD OUT. But there is a waiting list at this link if you’d like to register your interest should tickets (or new sessions) come available http://footscrayarts.com/event/spice-trails/

Below is a slide show of some images from August’s seatings, taken by Felis Sarcepuedes.

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What I love about this project is that it always looks and feels different, depending on who is in the room!  The dynamic nature of live art and participatory art make every seating beautifully unique.  Since last year, Spice Trails has evolved into an immersive live art series of performative dinners and installations, inviting guests to explore and experience the cultural, social and political dimensions of contemporary food culture while drawing on important histories inspired by the spice trade along Silk Road.

This journey explores the development and destruction of great civilisations that has shaped the way we eat today. The narrative unfolds through a 5-course vegan meal with matching wine available, inviting the audience to become performers, sharing stories of merchants in multiple languages.  The route this year followed five stops along the (massive) Silk Road, starting in China’s Sichuan Province, travelling through India, Palestine, Southern Spain and finally, stopping in France for dessert. Spices at each one of these places weaved everything from flavours, colours and stories.

This year, I was really curious about experimenting with natural dying, and different textures of silk.  There is something special about exploring materiality through all of our senses.  You would’ve noticed in some of the images above the various colours of silks presented with the spices they are dyed with.  My personal favourite is the bright yellow of raw silk soaked in turmeric.  And as one of the notes read:

In every apple you are eating Jupiter; in every plum, Saturn

And with Turmeric you eat the sun.

I’m looking forward to hosting another seating next month!  For now, back in the studio to get on with it.

Spice Trails is back

It is a great honour to be an artist in residence at Brunswick Mechanics Institute next month to further develop my performative dinner and Live Art work Spice Trails & Trade Routes.

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An iteration of this work was presented in my studio last year, and Im excited to have the opportunity to develop it further in my residency, where I will further explore the cultural, social and political dimensions of contemporary food culture while still drawing on important histories inspired by spice trade along Silk Road.

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This immersive Live Art project is part installation & part performative dinner inviting the audience on a journey to listen, taste and smell their way through different countries, cultures and communities. This journey explores the development and destruction of great civilisations that has shaped the way we eat today.

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Images from this post are from last year’s performative dinner, taken by my talented friend, Phoebe Powell.

I will be writing more updates during my residency about my research and development.  And stay tuned for more information about the presentation of this year’s performative dinner!

 

 

Beit e’Shai now open!

I haven’t posted on here for a while, apologies for the radio silence! I’ve been busy working on my new organic tea brand & mixing herbs for my apothecary. And Im super excited to announce the soft launch this week in Melbourne.

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Beit e’Shai, Arabic for House of Tea, is an apothecary & gallery for organic teas, tisanes & teawares.  All blends are carefully handmade by myself with an aim to support health & wellbeing.  Ingredients are sourced from as close as Maldon & Castlemaine in Central Victoria and as far as Palestine & Egypt. All ingredients are Certified Organic by Australian standards.

An online store will be launched early 2018 at www.beiteshai.com and I’ll also be trading from various artisan & farmers markets around Melbourne & regional Victoria.  Well, until a more permanent tea house is born.

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But for now, I have teamed up with two amazing friends to set up a PopUp Shop & Gallery in Brunswick this week before Christmas.  The three of us will have some lovely treats for your last minute Christmas shopping, so be sure to drop in for a cuppa & a look at some of the amazing art. All works are for sale, check out these links for the works by two very talented women; Chi&Ko Design and Vanessa Aloia.

I will sit the gallery/shop on these trading days, starting tomorrow.  Come in & say hi.

And I’d like to also take this opportunity to thank you for all your support in 2017 and wish you a wonderful & peaceful 2018.

Love, Rasha x

 

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Spice Trails & Trade Routes

I’m feeling grateful for all that has happened the past 12 months since moving back to Melbourne… the projects, exhibitions, workshops and opportunities this year brought my way have been wonderful.  It’s good to be back, and I’m feeling excited about what 2017 has in store.

Before I take a little hiatus from online blogging and news sharing, I wanted to share something I’ll be working on this summer… a special event to welcome the new year that is part dinner, part performance and part installation.

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The working title is Spice Trails & Trade Routes…

Imagine an ancient map as your dinner table, with plates being served, or rather, travelling across this map to tell a story from the perspective of spices… maybe there will be cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, star anise, cloves, pepper, chilli, cardamon or other aromatic herbs… Following Silk Road, the Way of the Sea, the Ridge Route and other important trade routes between Asia, Europe and Africa that have shaped the way we eat today.

Each stop on the map will deliver a special course featuring a herb or spice, and so as guests take this journey across the dinner table, stories of spice merchants and traders unfold at each stop and with each course.

Stay tuned for more news on this project…

For now, enjoy your end of year break.  And may 2017 bring you all your hearts’ desires.

Rasha Tayeh © All Rights Reserved

Growing Food Project

It’s been 3 years since I released my short film the Growing Food Project (2013), and as this year is coming to a close, I’m feeling quite reflective thinking about how things have changed in the last few years… and how many more local food projects have sprung up around Melbourne since this little film was made.

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Video still, Growing Food Project (2013)

This 15-minute film documents Melbourne’s local food movement and community food initiatives, where people come together to build local, fair and sustainable food systems.  I feel honoured that most of the people featured in the film & others who have worked behind the scenes are good friends of mine.  To learn more about the film check out this blog post from the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).

The film had a great run screening nationally & internationally.  And I’m really humbled by the feedback I received and the number of emails telling me that since watching this little film, some people felt inspired to start a garden in their homes or their neighbourhoods.

It makes my heart smile knowing that the art I create resonates.

The film has been offline for a bit, while screening at international film festivals.  But the time has come to share it with you again…  So click here to watch it.

In loving memory of my dear friend & teacher, Glenda M Lindsay Jan 23 1954 – Jan 15 2017.

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Video still, Growing Food Project (2013)

 

Growing Food Project, film by Rasha Tayeh © All Rights ReservedPrint

 

Herbs & Spices

Last Thursday, I spend the afternoon styling for a personal photoshoot with my talented friend Marleena Forward.  We had a great time shooting these lovely colours and an even better time when two year old Sonny joined us!

Here are some of the ‘behind the scenes’ photographs from the day… Thank you Marleena & Sonny for a fabulous afternoon.

© Rasha Tayeh. All Rights Reserved. 2016

 

 

On Food & Memory

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