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This session explores food as a living tradition, examining the cultural significance of different food practices and the diverse ways of archiving, conserving and sharing these culinary practices to promote sustainable food cultures. It also looks at the importance of recipes and local ingredients in defining the cultural identity of different communities.
This talk features Chef and founder of Edible Archives Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar, journalist and researcher Srishtaa Aparna Pallavi in conversation with curator and artist Suresh Jayaram.
In collaboration with Museum of Art & Photography
Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar
Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar is a professional chef and co-founder of Edible Archives, a restaurant and art/research project based in Anjuna, Goa, that works with indigenous ingredients. It was one of the Infra Projects at the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2018-19, where she showcased 30 varieties of indigenous rice in 3 months.
With over a dozen years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Anumitra has worked in Japanese, Thai and Italian restaurants in Southeast Asia and South Africa, as well as in India. She was the owner and chef of Big Bongg Theory, a modern Bengali restaurant in New Delhi and ran Bento Bong, an annual Bengali food stall, for three years.
She presented dinners for the India International Centre’s annual Arts Festival in 2017 and 2019, and the opening lunch for Market Place 2018, an event bringing together organic farmers, chefs and restaurateurs from all over the world to exchange ideas on how to bring indigenous ingredients to the marketplace. In early 2018, she curated ‘Smoked, Steamed and Tempered’, an event showcasing the ingredients and cooking techniques of Northeast India for the University of Chicago’s Alumni Centre in New Delhi. Most recently, she worked with the Diva group of fine dining restaurants in New Delhi. Anumitra holds a PhD in Cognitive Linguistics from the University of Delhi.
Srishtaa Aparna Pallavi
Srishtaa Aparna Pallavi is an indigenous food researcher. Between the years 2016 and 2018 Srishtaa, formerly known as Aparna Pallavi, travelled in spirit of gift through 11 states in India, without any funding and relying on the generosity of people she met, meeting with indigenous communities and learning about the food culture surrounding Mahua, a flower which was once a very important staple food for the Indigenous and close to nature rural poor, but is now mostly known as raw material for liquor and highly vilified at that.
On her journey she uncovered 35 recipes made with this one highly nutritious flower, and a host of information on the culture surrounding Mahua and and why the food practices are dying out.
Before this Srishtaa had a 20-year long career as an environment journalist, working full time for the highly recognized Down To Earth magazine. During these years she wrote extensively on indigenous food culture and discovered many lost and forgotten foods during her travels into the depths of India’s indigenous regions.
Her writings have been featured extensively in the first two books in the ‘First Food’ series published by the Centre for Science and Environment.
In 2018 Srishtaa Aparna also delivered a Tedx talk on the phenomenon of shame that is destroying natural food cultures. This talk was later chosen by Ted Global for release around the globe
The talk can be viewed here.
At present Aparna is staying in Auroville, Pondycherry, where she is working on two books — one on Mahua the lost food, and another on her personal food journey and how being a woman has impacted her relationship with food.
Suresh Jayaram (born 1965), is an artist, art historian, arts administrator, and curator from Bangalore. He is the Founder, Director of Visual Art Collective/1.Shanthiroad Studio an international artist’s residency and alternative art space in Bangalore. India.
He is currently involved in art practice, urban mapping, archiving, curation, and arts education. His keen interest in environmental and urban developmental issues influences his work. He taught Art History at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, the College of Fine Arts in Bangalore, and later went on to become the Principal between 2005-2007.
He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in painting from the College of Fine Arts, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, and a Master of Fine Arts from M.S.University, Baroda in 1992 in Art Criticism.
He set up 1.Shanthiroad studio, which is an international residency program to connect artists and creative people from different parts of the world to Bangalore. To create, collaborate, and have conversations across cultures. In 2010 to 2013, he curated a three-year program between Indian and Srilanka “Sethusamudhram” a project that was a collaborative residency with Theertha International Artist collective and 1Shanthiroad Studio gallery.In 2012-He curated the Colombo Biennale- “Becoming” with Roman Berka, the Austrian curator. In Srilanka.
In 2017-He curated a show that focussed on Karnataka Modern Art titled “Perspectives of Karnataka Modern Art ” at NGMA, Bangalore. In 2006-He authored the book “Whatever he touched he adorned- GH Krumbiegal” on the life and work of a German landscapist and horticulturist who lived in Bangalore. In 2020- he authored a book on the botanical history of Lalbagh- “Lalbagh- Bangalore’s Lalbagh: a Chronicle of the Garden and the City”
He has published in many art periodicals and journals, like Marg, Art Indian, and Nandan. A frequent writer on visual art and culture for the “Times of India, Bangalore” and the “Bangalore Times” for the past 30years.