19th March – 13th June 2015

Stirring the Pot of Story explored how power relations have shaped how and what we eat by looking at individual and collective memories of food in written and unwritten histories. The title is borrowed from J.R.R. Tolkien’s concept of the “Pot of Story”, the idea that story begets story. World events, issues of governance, class, identity, geography, nationhood, and gender are all brought to the boil in the cauldron of food politics.

The exhibition focused on the direct link between power and the control of food. It re-thought narratives of the past such as colonialism, war and migration, and how these continue to inform our relationship to food in our current social and political contexts.

Dutch-Indonesian artist Mella Jaarsma looks at the colonial history of the Dutch tea trade in the East Indies. Lebanese artist Mounira Al Solh offers an intimate account of food, war and desire during the Lebanese civil war, while Irish artist Christine Mackey pays homage to an Irish pea that was repatriated from Russia back to Ireland.

In newly commissioned works Italian artist Leone Contini looks at the iconography of Italian food cans of WWI, and the London-based collective Cooking Sections research how the food ways of the British Empire resonate with mobility and bio-warfare today. Raul Ortega Ayala constructs a Tower of Babel of fat and bones, an apt metaphor for the ruin and decay of our times.

Participating artists: Cooking Sections (UK), Leone Contini (IT), Mella Jaarsma (NL/IDN), Christine Mackey (IRL), Mounira Al Solh (LB/NL), Raul Ortega Ayala (MX).