This museum in Bengaluru is introducing its team through a novel exhibition of art and recipes
In the past, wars have been fought over food, kingdoms have witnessed famines that consequently made the mightiest of kings realise that food is what makes or breaks their land and its people. In the last one-and-a-half years when the world turned topsy-turvy owing to the pandemic, it was food that brought people closer. Whether it was the Good Samaritans donating ration kits to the migrants, people sending food to those in isolation, or social media users posting easy-to-cook recipes for first-timers in the kitchen everyone was connected in one way or the other to food, and this trend inspired Stories on a Banana Leaf, a virtual art exhibition.
Hosted by the yet-to-be-opened Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), the show is more like a precursor to the launch of the physical space that’s situated in the heart of Bengaluru. The exhibition features sculptures, paintings, prints, textiles and photographs from MAP’s collection, and recipes by the team members that one can try at home. The show has been curated by a team led by Arnika Ahldag and Vaishnavi Kambadur, both members of MAP. In an online curatorial walk, Ar nika and Vaishnavi explain the idea behind it and how people can navigate through the show. “We were thinking of a digital exhibition in April, and that month was extremely hard for everyone considering the second wave was at its peak. We kept thinking about gave people comfort, and we realised that there were a lot of articles about the sourdough culture and how people were experimenting in the kitchen. And there was exchange of home cooked food through delivery services. Food had become a gesture for self-care,” explains Arnika. This food exchange prompted the team to curate an exhibition that not only showcases food through different art forms, but it also shares some interesting anecdotes and recipes associated with each piece on display.
The team includes members from all over India and expats, and the recipes shared with every artwork have a story behind it shared by every member. Some of the unique pieces showcased are – a coconut grater and vegetable cutter from South India possibly from the 18th or 19th century, an 1850s painted woodcut print on paper that shows a hand holding shrimps, and a 20th century advertisement for Cadbury chocolates and cocoa powder. “There’s also an 18th century cotton robe (probably from the Coromandel Coast) that’s either hand applied or painted and mordant dyed and has pomegranate painted on it. It perhaps indicates how the fruit and certain other foods came to India,” explains Vaishnavi. Most of these artworks have more than one recipe described under it, and the team hopes that people get to know them through their food.
Ongoing. Details: map-india.org