"I doubt we've ever given the subject of food as much thought as we gave it during lockdown. Art about food is so much more than a record of what we've eaten.
Food is not just a biological need. It makes our culture, it feeds our emotions and it builds our identity. Art about food tells us that food isn’t just this thing we eat. It comforts us, it keeps us busy, it feeds us, and it reminds us of who we are.”
Deconstructed Banana Bread, Photograph of mixed media diorama, Courtesy of the artist
Sherbet Lemon – A Memory of Colin, Ceramic and glass mosaic, Courtesy of the artist
‘Vegan’ Minced Steak, Acrylic paint on canvas, Courtesy of the artist
Too Early for Breakfast, Acrylic paint on canvas, Courtesy of the artist
Triple Art Bypass, Hand-sewn felt installation, Courtesy of the artist
Burger, Crocheted yarn, Courtesy of the artist
Mr Chonky Chonk, 2021, Glazed ceramic, Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro
“My inspiration was looking at the person in front when you’re in the supermarket. You’re making a character assessment from their basket. I found this pre-Columbian, Peruvian ceramic pot. He’s a chunky kind of guy. A good starting point for a pot about food. I fired on transfers from photos of things in my kitchen. My auntie could spread the perfect Marmite toast. That was a big part of my childhood.”
Food plates, Glazed ceramic, Courtesy of the artist
“I wanted to talk about our tricky relationship with food and the culture of food. It’s very, very delicate. Rather than regarding food merely as nutrition, we may treat food as punishment or reward. What starts out as a biological necessity becomes enmeshed with emotion. It’s associated with memories, ideas, people, and places.”
Inner Turmoil of an Eating Disorder, Acrylic paint on paper, Courtesy of the artist
“When I think of the topic of food, I sadly think of how it has become such a torturous thing for so many people. I have attended many eating disorder groups where half of the people were very overweight and the other half were very underweight. At the start everyone thinks they will be really different. Instead we discover that we are all struggling with exactly the same things. Both strategies helped to numb and cope with difficult emotions. Everyone looks at appearance and makes judgements. The actual root of an eating disorder is the pain and turmoil that is going on inside and they do not know how to cope with it. I wanted to capture that it is this inner pain that leads to an eating disorder. They need some love, understanding and support.
Being creative is important to me as it helps to express my emotions. It can be easier to express it with art than with writing or talking. Sometimes you can communicate more clearly and powerfully with a picture than with words. Making art during lockdown was especially helpful when spending time with friends and having an opportunity to chat was greatly reduced!”
Favourable Chicken, Acrylic paint on canvas, Courtesy of the artist
“I grew up as a Muslim kid who couldn’t go to the pub. In a chicken shop you buy a packet of chips and sit in there for two hours to do all your catching up. This chicken shop is the one I used to go to. Favourable Fried Chicken. I just love that they went for ‘Favourable’. I’m quite proud of the painting. It’s not the best, it’s not the worst. But it’s favourable.”
Fish and Chips, Collage – magazine cuttings and paint on paper, Courtesy of the artist
“While one night watching Grayson,
Thoughts flowed I’d have to hasten.
Of things to eat and yummy food,
I thought of grub and then I stewed.
Of all the food that we all love,
The one that stands out well above.
Is fish and chips for me and you,
The nations favourite through and through.
So off I set and worked and planned,
With cuttings, scissors and glue in hand.
Old magazines and paper too,
I snipped and cut and glued so true.
And when all done and sent to Grayson,
Sue Perkins picked it, well how amazin.
And now it’s here in front of you,
I hope you like it just like Sue.”
Dora Lam, Winnie Lam & Sam Lam
Clay Dumplings, Air-drying clay
“My mum is from Guangzhou and made the perilous journey from China to Hong Kong. When she landed she didn’t even have a pair of shoes. I started thinking about heirlooms and how we don’t have any. I said to mum and dad ‘let’s make clay dumplings’, so we made them together. Conversations happened while we were making them. You can tell from the shape who made which. I uncovered stories about our family’s past which I never knew.”
Debbie and the Foodbank, Coloured pencil and ink on paper
“My artwork represents the amazing work my local neighbourhood centre has done for the community during the pandemic. Supplying local people with food hampers, clothes, toiletries and so much more. All the staff and volunteers are absolutely amazing and I am honoured to represent them in this artwork.”
Sweet and Maurizio D’Apollonio, Maurizio Dining & Co. Cambridge
Dinner Date, Mixed media installation
“Dinner Date shows how the pleasure of eating together creates memories and connections. Billy and Antoinette are on their first dinner date. They met on the plane to the UK from Venice and Billy invited Antoinette for pizza. During lockdown, we loved having Dinner Date displayed in our restaurant window. It made people smile and for a fleeting moment, remember what it was like to eat out. It reminded us that one day we would see our customers again.”
In My Fridge, Acrylic paint on board, Courtesy of the artist
“I decided to clean and organise our fridge. I was pleased with my efforts. My husband then returned from the supermarket and crammed extra items on top. This annoyed me! However, I felt like it had potential for a painting. After serving twenty years as a mental health nurse, I quit in lockdown. Mainly for health reasons and also I yearned to get back to being creative. Painting is a good way to focus. I am pleased that I started this new chapter.”
Daily Bread, Charcoal on paper, Courtesy of the artist
“My husband was starting to weigh out ingredients for our bread. This ritual has taken on extra significance during Covid. Making bread is so universal. It unites all cultures. In lockdown this action linked us with many people throughout the world.”