Art exhibition titled Taste on Opening by Jake Sun addresses capitalist globalisation
Single-use food wrapping is a major menace adding to environmental pollution worldwide. When Australian artist Jake Sun encountered plastic litter in Vagamon, it affected him on multiple levels.
“Even though the local community did not speak much English, I noticed that the plastic wrappers almost exclusively sported the language. It stood out a symbol of capitalist globalisation,” says Jake, who was at the hill station for a three-week-long residency programme last year.
Contemplating the ecological aftermath of wrappers and the homogenising effect of capitalism on local communities, this Brisbane-based fine arts graduate uses phrases from plastic packaging in the creation of his latest work. We visit the outcome—a series of paintings finished by 33 artists—exhibited at Mattancherry-based Yousuf Art Gallery and speak to the director of the show about his art practices.
Usually engaged with abstractions via audio or video installations, Jake wanted this project titled Taste On Opening to be different.
“When I decided to work with the text on the packaging, there were a few painters on a residency at the same venue. Considering the shared colonial history of India and Australia, and the significance of the English language in it, I thought it will be great to bring together 33 artists from both the countries,” says the artist, about pairing his conceptual style with the traditional art form.
His choice of medium was also influenced by the fact that paintings can be sold, which will further his plan of contributing to the Kerala flood relief fund.
The photograph of a tea leaf Jake shot from a house he was invited to in Vagamon is another primary element in the showcase.
“I sent it to the collaborating artists and gave them certain combinations of words which I had pulled from the wrappers. It was wondrous to see how each person has a different perspective of the same thing,” says Jake, presenting human creativity in juxtaposition with similar looking, mass-produced items (think soft drink cans) flooding our market.
Phrases including ‘taste on opening’ and ‘call out your love’ are superimposed on the artists’ take on the leaf finished in acrylic on canvas. “We’ve been obsessed with a visual language for too long. So, we also serve tea from Vagamon to visitors and want strangers to engage in conversation in our space,” says co-producer Thaj Baker.
To continue the dialogue between creative minds that he started off, Jake is charting out plans to bring artists from his country for the Kochi Muziris Biennale and also provide an opportunity for Malayali artists to visit Brisbane-based Asia Pacific Triennial.
Till March 29.
At Yousuf Art Gallery.