This exhibition presents the cow, elk, fish, duck and pig as sustenance at its source. It explores the many levels of meaning invested in the meal.
Throughout history, cultures have infused the rituals of sustenance with heavy layers of symbolism. Practices that help raise awareness and appreciation, such as fasting and feasting, have been part of religious holidays across cultures and throughout history. Celebrations and customs centered around the meal have defined us as both social and soulful beings.
Some cultures offer food to their deceased ancestors. Buddhists leave food in their temples. Many of us pause to give thanks before a meal. No other item is given and received more frequently than food. If we treated these exchanges as the gifts they really are, we would elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary.
So what does it mean when this food is so processed as to be totally unrecognizable, and so stripped of its ability to nourish that it can't sustain healthy human life? We know our misuse of food is doing damage to our physical selves but is that misuse also causing spiritual damage? Are we becoming less holy and more hollow? Are we hungry ghosts?
*A hungry ghost is a kind of ghost associated with hunger common to many religions. Some believe that the ghosts of their ancestors return to their houses at a certain time of the year, hungry and ready to eat. A festival is held for the hungry ancestor ghosts and food and drink is put out to satisfy their needs.