Contemplate – free art exhibition exploring identity through food

By on July 4, 2019

Black fungus, century eggs, lotus root, ube, chayote, bitter melon… an awe-inspiring list of beautiful ingredients packed full of flavour and health benefits. Every single one is a staple in Asian cooking and prevalent on Chinatown London menus and in its supermarkets. Yet, the unusual names and unfamiliar looks are a barrier for many when cooking or ordering Chinese food.

This summer, Chinatown London is celebrating Asian ingredients and at the heart of the campaign is CONTEMPLATE, a free exhibition commissioned with young fine art photographer, Marcella Chan. The exhibition will be running from 9-14 July 2019 hosted at China Exchange in Chinatown London.
Raised by Chinese parents in rural Somerset, Chan explores her East Asian and British identity through mismatched ingredients and kitchen utensils from both East and West, producing colourful displays of food combinations that aren’t quite what they seem.

Chan explains:
“I enjoyed playing with the colours, textures and perceptions of the foods whilst injecting a little humour to make these images accessible to all. Juxtaposing British and Asian ingredients has allowed me to draw parallels and remove the unfamiliar. I’m excited to see the reactions from visitors and hopefully inspire them to be more adventurous.”

Marcella Chan Biography
A recent photography graduate from the University of Bournemouth, Chan’s work centres around themes of discovery and exploring dual identity and nostalgia through personal experiences. Her Grandfather, Po Hing, arrived in England by ship in 1959, where he worked in a restaurant in London, before opening several restaurants in Weymouth.

Bringing over his family in 1972, they set up a takeaway which Chan’s parents (Kwai Lan and Hang Yan) continued to run before opening their own in Somerset. Food was integral to Chan’s childhood and family history and has become a tool to explore her personal identity. Chan’s pieces depict and unearth staple Asian ingredients, using bold colour combinations and amusing equivalents.

Contemplate – free art exhibition exploring identity through food at China Exchange starts on Tuesday 9 July 2019.

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Culture | Contemplate – free art exhibition exploring identity through food