Connected through food

Work on display by Caitlin Dix. Photo by Caitlin Dix

Entangled Eating highlights the connections we weave with our food.

The Entangled Eating exhibition took over the Hive Cafe from April 1 to 8, with performances on April 4. Partnered with the Concordia Food Coalition (CFC), the Faculty of Arts and Science Association (FASA) and ten artists, Entangled Eating shows the inseparable connection between people and food.

The exhibition included two tasty performances, where guests indulged in a meal cooked by one of the artists. The thrumming music from the DJ and the smell of brisket spur the crowd to get in line for the meal.  The artists offer a quick insight into the meaning behind every step of the meal, the ingredients, the recipe and the cooking process before getting back to their station to feed the eager crowd.

Visitors waiting in line for Mika Bosnjak’s food. Photo by Caitlin Dix

Stella Banchan, a mixed-medium artist, shares her struggle to reconnect with food after leaving her family’s organic farm in British Columbia. Sustainability is a foundational belief for Banchan, which has been a struggle since moving to Montreal since she can no longer take part in the growing and cultivation of her own food. Stella has reforged this connection by dumpster diving, working in the food service industry and especially through her art. 

 “Food is so important, and the systems that we participate in, use, create and perpetuate; to grow, feed and share food are really important,” Banchan said. Her paintings depict collages of foods in electric colours and are surrounded with phrases that are deeply personal to the artists, such as “celebratory couscous.” 

For artist Ruba Al Jaoul, food is an act of cultural resistance. “I am Palestinian, from Gaza originally, and I am defying whatever is happening, preserving my culture and doing my best to stop it from being appropriated,” Al Jaoul said.

Al Jaoul is the president of Frigo Vert’s board and has presented her cooking at multiple events. The recipe she shared was passed down from her grandmother. 

Al Jaoul served a delicious eggplant dish, allowing everyone the privilege to taste a piece of Palestinian culture. Her dish was made using only four ingredients, cooked with love, olive oil and dill seeds from her family’s orchard in Palestine, which no longer exists.  “It is one of the recipes I hold near and dear. This recipe is extremely simple, it was born out of necessity,” she said. 

Entangled Eating is a hub for food activists—representatives from the CFC, Fungi Fest, CultivAction, and Ferme Urbaine were there to share their projects and advocate for better food options at Concordia. 

 Entangled Eating’s organizors are critical of Concordia’s sustainability due to its allegiance to the food service provider Aramark, a company they claim is responsible for multiple worker’s rights violations.

It is impossible to leave Entangled Eating without acknowledging one’s relationship with food. Improving that relationship doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Work on display by Caitlin Durbin. Photo by Caitlin Dix

Best said in a statement by Entangled Eating‘s curator, Lumina Kitaura: “There are a lot of different ways to get closer to our food system, and I think it doesn’t have to be a very technical thing, it can be very spiritual; acknowledging where food comes from, thanking the people who produced it, producing it ourselves, making art about it, and sharing with others, it’s all part of the process.”

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