Dal and Rice

2021

“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others.”

                                                                                                                                                                    - M.F.K Fisher, The Art Of Eating

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While typically not represented by keepsakes, memories of food are some of my strongest.

 

 

The COVID-19 Pandemic along with it brought upon an epidemic of isolation. As a graduate student 8000 miles away from home, I turned to food to comfort myself. Turning to food in times of distress is not an uncommon act, psychologists have deemed it a survival tactic. Food memories are said to be some of the most powerful, as they encompass all five senses. These memories are so compelling, as their nature isn’t only shaped by survival, but also the context, the company, the place and emotion.

 

As a textile artist, I used food and sensorial memories to evoke a place and time, to make home almost palpable- within reach. I not only wanted to invite people to experience the warmth of my kitchen, but wanted to design fabrics that they could take, easily transport & use in their spaces to comfort themselves when they felt isolated. These textiles are the materialisation of nostalgia through food.

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Aromatics

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Spun Rayon, Monofilament, Bay Leaves, Cardamom, Chilli, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander Seeds, Javentri, Kokum, Pepper, Star Anise

4.5 ft x 6.6 ft

2021

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Woven on the Jacquard Loom, Aromatics is an amalgamation of technology and handiwork. The textile is filled with spices commonly used in my family's Indian recipes. Designed with a complex woven structure to form a transparent 3-D gauze weave, pockets are woven in to the fabric that can be filled. Aromatics was made to be hung on a wall with the intention to fill up a space with warmth and envelope it in the aroma of spices. It is interactive, sensorial and comforting.

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Bazaar

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White Concrete, Muslin, Dye


3.3 ft x 6 ft each


2021

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Cooking at home is so much more than just the dish on the plate, it is about the context of when or how the food is being prepared. Eating food from home also involves going to the bustling marketplace in Bangalore to procure ingredients. This diptych was made by layering concrete- A material heavily prevalent in the bazaar I frequent back home- on to muslin. 

Bazaar plays with the opacity and translucency of concrete, often seen as an opaque, hard, cold material. However, when combined with fabric, concrete has an incredible luminosity when shown against light. Scenes from the bazaar were painted with dye on the back of the fabrics, which were lit from behind with a warm, glowing light- making the material come alive.

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From My Kitchen, I See Coconut Trees

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Cotton, Sisal Rope, Manila Rope, Jute


3.8 ft x 8 ft


2021

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Inspired by the coconut trees I can see from my kitchen at home, this textile was woven on a handloom. Sisal rope, Manila rope and Jute represent the natural, organic trees, while the grid-like, structured cotton is reminiscent of the window. Woven on a spaced warp, the rope weaves in and out and interlocks at intervals to give the fabric more structure. The bottom of the textile is woven with thicker, denser, darker manila rope, like the thick tree trunks, and as you go up, the materials get thinner and lighter, ending with thin jute at the top. 

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An Offering

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Spun Rayon, Monofilament, Bay Leaves, Cardamom, Chilli, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander Seeds, Javentri, Kokum, Pepper, Star Anise

4 in x 4 in each

2021

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An Offering comprises of pouches that are filled with spices. A derivative of Aromatics, it was woven on the jacquard loom. Since cooking and eating is so much about sharing, these pouches were a way for the viewer to take a small piece of the work back with them. Since this series was displayed during the pandemic, An Offering was also a way to ensure their safety, where they could enjoy the aroma of the spices in the safety of their homes.

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Find more images of this series on Instagram: 

Photographs: Josephine Sittenfeld, Luciana Iwamoto and Anushka Divecha