Monday 18 June 2012

Food Art….Invoking philosophical reasoning and creative output.

Food Art….Invoking  philosophical  reasoning  and  creative  output.
Pankaja JK.    

“In India people most people die not due to lack of food but due to over eating of food…”
This is no scientific analysis or report on World Food Survey.; but just a moment of thought given to most basic need of every living being- it is Food. Do we need food only to keep our body working or is there more profound importance of it in our life? Thinking about this I found very interesting answer to this bizarre question. Food has more than physical responsibility- it nurtures philosophy of life. There are basically two different categories of food that are necessary to fix and achieve the meaning of life. First is the ‘actual nutritional diet’, second is the ‘thought as food’.
After Industrialization the food habit of people especially in urban area changed rapidly. The trend of processed, packed food developed rapidly. This trend still continues and it has become a part of everyday lifestyle of people all over the world. Technological progress is not the only reason for this changing habit. There is a sly politics behind making people addicted to such habit. Establishing international market and earning foreign currency is the main aim of politicizing of food. In fact, Food and Beverage Industry is prospering day by day. There is a competition in luxurious and stared hotels to present food with attractive garnishing. We can simply call it ‘food modeling’! This food is advertised as very healthy and safe, ready to eat food but in reality it is devoid of any nutrition and it is more harmful to body. Comparing today’s people to early generation we find more and more of them suffering from physical ailments due to faulty food habits.
(Title: I roasted papad on iron, c - print on aluminum.     By Prashant Hirlekar)
But the second category of food is common to people from all walks of life and that category is ‘thought as a food’.  Civilizations have developed and perished but one thing common in all civilizations is the haunt for food by every surviving soul. Speaking of mankind it has not only been for satisfaction of hunger but for development and progress too- it has always been food for thought. There is a very interesting proverb in Marathi which sums up the basic need of life – Pot lagle pathishi…phiravito desho deshi…. Which means- Stomach/ hunger/ need for food follows you (is behind you?) and makes you go places in search of food. When the basic urge of food is satisfied man is able to think beyond survival, he is able to think and move on progressive path. The food that is mentioned here is food that a man needs to develop in his field of interest. For example, a painter needs inspiration, scientists needs evaluation, a writer needs stimulation, freedom fighters were lured with the thought of gaining independence for the country,  a laborer is nurtured by the thought of worrying for his own and family’s survival and so on.
Every kind of thought acts as ‘food’.  Speaking of art community, Food has been subject of many artists; creations. Food has depicted elements in nature, food has represented hunger and vice a versa and so on. Artists have used food stuffs symbolically.

Out of many such creations, installation one that has emotional touch is the artwork of Prashant Hirlekar, a passionate artists who is inspired by household things, imprinted his favorite ‘Istri’ (Iron) in the shape of a papad (wafer) on  aluminum base. He told an interesting story behind this creation, that during his college days while staying as a paying guest, he and his other artist friends would have party in anyone friend’s room. But since during those days paying guests were not allowed to keep gas stove, it was not possible to prepare any snacks in the room, so he and his friends would heat the iron and roast the papad by keeping hot iron on it. This nostalgia has turned out as a memorable creation of Prashant. 
(Title: Red chilly:  archival print on paper  by  Vishwanath Math.)

Artist Vishwanath Math has been dedicatedly involved in exploring the depth of mundane things. His ‘Mundane’ series is his curiosity to search abstract forms and shapes giving some meaning to it. His photographic skill can be easily felt when we observe chilly and curry leaves kept on the steel plate. There is nothing unusual about it. We see it everyday, but the way he has shoot it, makes it seem mouth watering, though if we eat it raw as seen in photograph we would have watering eyes along with mouth! 
To sum up, there is no alternative to ‘food’ and important aspect of social, political, philosophical and aesthetic scenario of the world.