Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What happens with our culinary habits when we migrate to another country? What is “national food”? When we live abroad, do we miss the taste of the food from home, or just making the food we are used to? – Having migration and foodways as one of the main topics this year at GeoAIR, these are some of the questions Nini Palavandishvili and Data Chigholashvili asked at “Deprivation” - exhibition at the Arsenal Gallery in Białystok, curated by Monika Szewczyk.

Participants of the exhibition were asked to bring and contribute food products that they would miss from home, while being abroad. Some of the items included: pickles or chocolates from different countries; substitute of black caviar, affordable in Soviet times being very expensive these days; different types of cheese, some associated with the country of origin, other seen as the marker of certain identity within the producing country; fruits from own garden or bread from one’s country; cake from the country of migration or condensed milk from post-Soviet areas; disputable Dolma, or spices from around the world; buckwheat or sunflower seeds, missed by people from many participating countries, etc.

These food products with short stories were on display during the first two days of the exhibition, followed by the “International Food Night” project. International gatherings are usually followed by food nights, where randomly selected nation acts as a "host" country for presenting national cuisine and traditions. However, in this case no particular “national” food was made. While Nini and Data mixed some of the ingredients brought from different countries, others were left for the visitors of the gallery to combine. There was only one rule – no ingredient was to be consumed separately. As mixed “national” dishes were enjoyed, the topics of food, home, migration and nationalism were thought about.

“Deprivation” was an exhibition staged by the Arsenal Gallery in Białystok (Poland) as part of the festival “The Rise of Eastern Culture / Another Dimension 2014”. The main problem addressed by “Deprivation” revolved around migration and its political, social, economical and psychological aspects.

More about the exhibition: