Many years ago, a friend of mine who is a dietician, told me that we don’t usually share a meal with someone or people we don’t trust. Trust and the ability to negotiate difficult situations seems to be further enhanced when we share the same food.
A study in America from 2011 revealed that,
‘In families that frequently eat together, the children benefit in innumerable ways. They are happier and healthier, perhaps because they eat more nutritious meals. They get better grades. They are less likely to smoke, drink, or use other drugs. They have better relationships with their parents and with their siblings. Children, even teenagers, who infrequently eat with their families actually want to do so more often. They cite “catching up with the family” as the major reason. Wow.’ See the full article here.
I don’t have a family of my own but one of the things I enjoy most is having friends round for a meal and cooking for them. It is a time for sharing not only food, but stories and the richness of life. These are some of the reasons I adapted my mother’s idea of printing the labyrinth matryoshka figures onto tiles into printing onto plates. For the exhibition they were displayed within a table and place settings drawn onto the wall.
Each plate was based on one of the four exhibition themes – place, plant, home, mend;
labyrinth lunch plate series | forming place
labyrinth lunch plate series | planting peace
labyrinth lunch plate series | creating home
labyrinth lunch plate series | mending prejudice
A visitor to the exhibition this week chatted with me about ‘The Dinner Party‘ by American artist Judy Chicago. After a worldwide tour in the 1970s, the work is now housed at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. It is a monumental, beautiful and intriguing installation featuring representations of 39 important historical female figures on a ceremonial table, as well as a floor recognising the contributions of 999 women. It’s on my list of things to see if ever I’m in New York.
Completing the table, there was an empty place setting … for absent friends, the unexpected visitor, or the viewer’s own design … as well as a fifth plate based on my mother’s beautiful writing about Autumn – see earlier post.
labyrinth lunch plate series | relinquishing spring
My mother loves Autumn and the rain, so it was fitting that the exhibition opened in October. My grandmother hated Autumn and the rain, but loved Spring. I will sign off with a piece of writing from them both.
Brightness | Marjorie Athey
‘Brightness, as if a light had been switched on. Brightening the leaves to wonderful shades of green. Tall flowers enhanced by the brightness, then, as a backcloth to the rooftops, a line of incredible grey, left as the thunderstorm passed by. Now it is lightening as though the light has moved behind, leaving a strange effect. Everything is STILL. I still hear the raindrops, heavenly noisy, as if the clouds consciously emptied themselves with abandon – now clean air, clean roofs, streets, pavements, everywhere.’
Relinquishing spring | Margaret Aldington
‘I feel no fear or dread in Autumn; only the tawny contentment of a land relinquishing the burning zeal of spring and harvest, releasing itself from man’s demand, to return again into its own contemplations and its dialogue with winter. The low lying sun now soothes the aches of antiquity, tenderly exploring the beauty of old gnarlings, nature’s battle scars and recesses, secret from the torrid zenith. This is no dying, this is the repose of certainty and of strength: more inspiring than youth’s exuberance.’
(I am grateful to Heraldic Pottery for the wonderful job they did in colour matching my artwork and printing the plates.)