We Eat We Are celebrates food as a form of social sculpture that unites, nourishes and renews. Artist and curator Sarah Pirrie explores the relational experience of food as a cultural determinant, as a sacred language and as a vital environmental resource at the heart of community. Bringing together new work by leading, mid-career and emerging Northern Territory artists, and featuring artworks and collectives influenced by the Territory’s food culture, We Eat We Are presents a visually immersive and interactive exhibition experience.
Senior Yolŋu artist Mulkuṉ Wirrpanda creates exquisite and lyrical paintings that systematically document the cultural significance of local plants for the benefit of future generations. Works by Tiwi artists revel in the shared experience of collecting and cooking mussels, highlighting the communal experience of harvesting and eating. Darwin based artists’ Christine Barzaga and Vi Bao Truong cook up an eclectic mix of fanzines, recipe cards, altarpieces and video installations that explore intergenerational and cross-cultural food experiences. Siying Zhou and Temporary Territory project team smash popular cultural food myths through cooking demonstrations in a temporary Warung food event, while environmentalist Emma Lupin focuses audiences’ attention on the food bowl, as a source of belonging and personal identity.
The exhibition celebrates social cohesion through food and food culture, and in doing so encourages community engagement and reflection. Audience members are actively invited to take part and contribute to the exhibition as it tours through the Northern Territory.
This is the second exhibition to be produced as part of the SPARK NT Curator Program, an Artback NT initiative which supports an independent or emerging curator, residing in the Northern Territory, to develop an exhibition project for tour. SPARK is designed to foster critical thinking in art and curatorial practice and provide artists from the Territory with opportunities to showcase their work within a curated touring exhibition.