The pandemic induced lockdowns disrupted people’s ability to socialize in many significant ways. Arguably, most impactful of these was the ability to sit at a table and break bread with loved ones.
An upcoming art exhibition in Pasadena is set to explore society’s “intimate and communal relationship with food,” including the many ways these connections were broken and challenged during the lockdown triggered by the pandemic.
Through artworks, documentary media, a timeline of events, and ephemera, “At the Table” hosted by Armory Center for the Arts, creates space for reflection on the role food plays in our lives as individuals and in our communities, and traces the effects of the pandemic on the ways we interact with and consume food.
“At the Table” will open on Friday, July 29, at Armory Center for the Arts galleries at 145 N. Raymond Ave. in Pasadena. Admission is free.
“The exhibition offers a shared space to gather and reflect on this time under lockdown and its aftermath. The show examines the role food plays in our history, culture, and daily lives; asks us to consider how our relationship to food and food rituals has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and centers food as an important part of the healing and recovery process,” according to Armory.
Visitors can bring canned goods and shelf-stable foods to contribute to an onsite free mini-pantry at the exhibition.
“They will also have the opportunity to nominate their favorite local restaurant, street vendor, farmer’s market, food bank, or food justice organization for inclusion in a Los Angeles-area food focused asset map. The asset map will be available online and in the exhibition and is an effort to provide resources to those who are struggling with food insecurity, support the recovery of the L.A. culinary industry (one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic), and uplift local culinary treasures,” added the non-profit arts organization.
The exhibition continues through Sunday, Dec. 4.
The artists, projects, and collaborations included in this year’s exhibition are Jackie Amezquita, “Champions Feed Champions” presented by the Inglewood Community Fridge, “domingo” presented by The Crenshaw Dairy Mart and The Mistake Room, Yrneh Gabon, Yeu “Q” Nguyen, Francisco Palomares, and alvaro parra.
On July 30, Sept. 24, and Nov. 5, Francisco Palomares leads a workshop inspired by his Francisco’s Fresh Paintings installation included in At the Table. After a short presentation of Palomares’ work, workshop participants will be collaging and drawing a street vendor fruit cart inspired still life from observation.
On Aug. 4, Jackie Amezquita will lead an activation of her ongoing project “Proclamación,” a performance/installation where people gather to eat on top of slabs made by Amezquita. Each slab is made by hand using soil from different neighborhoods across Los Angeles, “cal hidratada” (hydrated lime) from Latin America, salt, and corn masa. The dishes eaten upon the slabs represent Los Angeles’ rich culinary diversity. After the activation, these slabs will be incorporated into the exhibition installation.
On Aug. 13 and Oct. 1, as part of her “Empathy Table” social practice fiber art project, artist Yeu “Q” Nguyen will lead a series of workshops where visitors will learn how to make their own custom “emotional dumplings,” fabric dumplings stuffed and marked with difficult emotions. Workshop participants will be invited to contribute their emotional dumplings to the Q’s At the Table installation, giving visitors a chance to come together around a table to create, have conversation, and share their creations and emotions.
On Sept. 1, a screening of the film “Vendedores en Acción” (2021) will be followed by a conversation between alvaro parra, the film’s director, and Faustino Martinez and Caridad Vazquez, street vendors featured in the film.
At the Table is organized by the Armory’s Exhibition Program Production Manager, Heber Rodriguez, and is made possible with support from the Pasadena Art Alliance and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Lead support for all Armory programs comes from the Los Angeles Arts Recovery Fund.
For more information, visit www.armoryarts.org/exhibitions/2022/at-the-table.