CuratorSpace Artist Bursary #17: Monika Dutta
Monika Dutta's practice derives from a cross-disciplinary approach to methods and materials and embraces the disciplines of moving image; photography; drawing; sculpture; constructed textiles; performance and activism, producing works that collectively map relationships between the tangible natural environment and the constructed realities of a culture driven by technology.
"I am currently examining the issues of food insecurity, food waste, food sovereignty, and food justice, through the lens of my collaborative practice with Jake Harries, 'a little piece of land'. My artistic investigation is focused on the overlooked and wasted food resource that exists in the rural hinterlands surrounding urban centres, in the form of wild edible plants and hedgerow fruits and nuts.
In emergency response to the escalating cost of everyday foods, I will be working with Hull Artists Research Initiative (HARI) to engage with the public and a small number of arranged groups, addressing issues of food insecurity, food waste, food sovereignty and food justice, through the lens of abundant yet wasted 'wild' food which exists outside of the commercial economy.
I will be populating the space with wild harvests that I make myself, from my rural location in Hull's hinterland, and from around the city parks and avenues. I will be present in the space, which is a former shop on a pedestrianised high street with high footfall and a relaxed, browsing atmosphere, generating an evolving display of data records of the harvests alongside the fruit itself, and 'performing' the processing and preserving of some of the harvests to make traditional jelly, jam, fruit cheese and butter, chutney, dried fruits, and fruit leathers (sugar-free chewy sweets popular for children).
I intend to create a system of sharing between myself and members of the public, wherein I will give someone a jar of produce in exchange for their response to one particular question; this response could come in any form they choose, such as verbal, or a drawing, or even an object they think is relevant. In this way, the growing display will become a 'body of evidence' relating to diverse views and beliefs about food right now.
This project builds on my previous work with ArtBomb in Doncaster where I devised two open public events focused on wild food, and a day-long drop-in co-creation workshop, primarily for children and young people, focused on environmental care and waterways pollution. This was followed by a project with Hull Artists Research Initiative (HARI) to introduce their upcoming summer season focusing on Climate and Environment. We brought performative engagement works 'Wild Weed Kitchen' and 'Untamed Food Distribution' to a Hull audience as a single event for one Saturday in Hull city centre."
You can see more of Monika's work on food and rewilding at www.alittlepieceofland.org.uk
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