Whetting The Appetite
Symposium to explore the connections between food and art

Gavin Bertram
August 22, 2012

The connection between art and food is often underestimated, says Dunedin School of Art senior lecturer Peter Stupples. This Friday’s Art and Food Symposium will explore the board array of topics stemming from that connection.

Organised by Stupples, this symposium is the fourth held at the Otago Polytechnic’s School of Art. Those over the pervious three years have explored Art and Science, Art and Law, and Art and Medicine.

Stupples says they look for a topic with a broad interface when organizing the events.

Once the topic is chosen, the academics and artists to speak are selected.

“We send out a call for papers, everywhere around the world,’ Stupples says. “Within no time we get enough for a full symposium, We have too many sometimes in one area and not enough in others, so we manipulate it to bring about a symposium we think is balanced.”

The Art and Food Symposium features sessions involving Auckland Museum curator Mary Kisler, Dunedin Simon Kaan, Australian academic Professor Donna-Lee Brien, and Dunedin School of Art head Leoni Schmidt.

They will speak of historical and cultural connections between art and food, contemporary art practice involving food, fashion and food, food as art, and the visual presentation of food in books about cooking.

New York-based Malaysian artist Chee Wang Ng, whose work appears in the accompanying exhibition, will also talk live via live telecast.

“Food is there in still life, in medieval art in Europe, and particularly in Eastern art it’s quite important as a ritual subject,” Stupples says.

“In the West we don’t have quite the same regard for it that they do in Eastern art histories.

“This is why it’s very important to have Chee Wang’s work here, to show how significant it is in Asian art generally.” Although food was chosen as a topic for the symposium primarily for its broad appeal, it was also due to the new bachelor of culinary arts offered at Otago Polytechnic.

The degree programme is run by Richard Mitchell. Whose students will offer “A Taste of Art and Food” at the conclusion of Friday’s Art and Food Symposium.

“Culinary Art are starting a new programme and we thought we’d support them.” Stupples explains.

“Richard is using this to highlight the work of his students who are going around North Dunedin foraging for food to be the basis of the meal for anybody who comes at the end of the event.”

• The exhibition is conjunction with the Art and Food Symposium is at the Dunedin School of Art Gallery until Saturday.


Copyright © 2012 D Scene, Dunedin, New Zealand