Ahoy, ahoy!  I know, I’ve been terrible with updates lately.  This weekend, I owe you two posts!  Schoolwork always begins to pile up around this time of year, but I cannot neglect my lovely blog followers now, can I?

On Tuesday we had the pleasure of having Chris, a guest lecturer come into class.  I really appreciate and value when professors incorporate guest lectures into the curriculum.  Your knowledge of a topic or an idea can be expanded on so much by a guest lecture, or it can even cause you to begin thinking in an incredibly new and different way.  The lecture I enjoyed the most by an artist this year was the opening of Feed, an exhibit by Tonia DiRosio.  This exhibit was all about her experiences with video and learning to cook from Italian relatives and friends.  I think the reason why I liked this talk so much, is because it had so much to do with the artist’s attempt at reconnecting with her own family history and heritage.  It was mostly film that was produced from this project, and the whole exhibit is being wrapped up tonight with a big pasta supper at the Legion.  I know that many people would not necessarily correlate the concept of recipes and learning to cook with art, but the way the work was presented was what made it interesting.

The exhibition was not just about cooking pasta, it was about far more than that.  It was about the traditions that go into cooking an Italian meal, who cooks it, when do they cook it, and how.  What ingredients are used?  Is a recipe followed?  How do these women know what to cook?  Through film and photography, DiRosio explored these and other themes of an Italian household.  Enjoying the meal afterward with family and friends was another part of her study.  I enjoyed her talk and exhibit so much.  It was almost like a visual ethnography project about the concept of cooking practices in Italy.  Her films are for the most part, unaltered, so you are able to view them much like you would a documentary.

Italian cooking may not seem like a very “Canadian” topic, but that is what I think is one of the most interesting things about art in both Canada and the United States of America.  Because these two countries really make up the “new” West, there really is just an unimagineable amount of influence coming at artists from every direction.  In DiRosio’s case, she is influenced by her Italian heritage.  In her work, heritage meets present day and manifests itself through her films and photography.  I always find it interesting how those living in North America of European descent are so interested in their roots.  I find that often, if you ask someone from Canada about their nationality, they are quite likely to define themselves as Dutch, German, French, English, Scottish, Hungarian…a myriad of different associations with European countries, where the only real connection is that this is what they’ve been told by their parents or grandparents.  Seeing someone actively seek out their European heritage is an interesting connection to Canadian art, as so many of us living here are of European descent!

Thats all!