Why ‘Stories on a banana leaf,’ an interactive exhibition curated by MAP, is a feast for the senses and the mind

What do a recipe, a murals and a narrative have in widespread? All these are part of ‘Stories on a Banana Leaf,’ a web based, interactive exhibition hosted by the employees of Museum of Art And Photography (MAP), Bengaluru.

Talking about meals is a assured ice-breaker and in the course of the pandemic, it turned a ‘binding agent’ for the crew at MAP. “The idea for an exhibition like this took shape during the lockdown and food helped us connect with each other and our families even if we were living on our own,” says Vaishnavi Kambadur, assistant curator, MAP.

“Holed up as we were in different places, talking about food created a sense of togetherness and forged a bond,” says Arnika Ahldag, assistant curator at MAP, including, “We began sharing personal traditions and memories centred around a particular dish or a recipe.”

The crew realised that the museum has lots of artwork associated to meals. They shortlisted 35 artworks from MAP’s assortment, which was additional whittled all the way down to 17 works accompanied by 22 recipes. The style and medium are as various because the recipes: classical artworks share area with sepia-tinted commercial posters, kitchen implements and cloth colored with vegetable dye.

Dishes reminiscent of Katahal-do-pyaaza and Tabbouleh-Kosambari salad share area with pink wine poached pears, capsicum chickpea flour, ripe banana curry and extra.

“Conservators as well as those who work with technology and fund raising were also an intrinsic part of the exhibition, interpreting artwork and contributing recipes, which was an institutional intervention of sorts,” says Vaishnavi.

Soon nearly each division at MAP was concerned. Kunal Mehta, an inclusion supervisor, ensured that the collection will also be loved by these with visible disabilities by including Alt Text that described photos by way of display screen reader. Others reminiscent of Riya Kumar, Curatorial Assistant and Tanushree Kulkarni, a Development Officer, not solely labored on the content material, however contributed recipes too.

Food is crucial for survival; tales present us with soul sustenance. And whereas snacks, mains and dessert normally evoke fond recollections, there are additionally histories to meals — centuries-old colonial angst behind a comforting cup of tea or the ‘feminine flavour’ behind a dish of meen moilee. In exploration of this, a proof concerning the artist and his work accompany a private anecdote and a recipe submitted by MAP’s employees.

For occasion, the pink scorching chillies in artist Madan Meena’s Barahmasa-I collection, appealed to Kavita Jhunjhunwala, MAP’s marketing consultant within the Digital Initiatives division. Apart from particulars concerning the artist and the portray, she and two different members have contributed three completely different recipes the place pink chillies are the primary condiment.

Apart from being an exhibition curated by personnel from completely different sections of the museum, ‘Stories on a Banana Leaf’ caters to particular person tastes of the viewer. “One can choose a particular work of art, a recipe, an artist or vegetable and read up on that alone. There is no fixed route to enjoy this exhibition; viewers can pick their own pace,” says Arnika.

The result’s a feast for the senses and the mind.


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