Hennie Fisher was the speaker at the closing event of the Innibos Arts Programme at White River Gallery last Saturday.
Participating artists in the group exhibition “Mosterd na die Maal”, included Eric Eatwell, Rene Eloff, Michael Heyns, Laurel Holmes, Vianca Malan, Griet van der Meulen, Erica Schoeman, Winston Thekiso, Gerrie van Tonder, Lynette van Tonder, James de Villiers and Mariana Zwaan.
Family rituals, the act of saying grace and human posturing around meals were explored in this group exhibition through various media.
Hennie is a long-standing and respected educator in the field of culinary art.
He has completed doctoral research in the development of food literacy measuring instrument for South Africa and is a food critic for Eat Out Magazine.
He grew up in the Lowveld, where he attended primary school in Hazyview and high school at Rob Ferreira High.
He used DJ Opperman’s poem Sproeireën as an art-food link for his speech and tapped into his memories of driving back from university and smelling the orange blossoms when entering the Mbombela valley.
Read more: ‘n Verskeidenheid kuns wat vele sal verras
With food playing a substancial role in his day-to-day life, as an educational, research, functional and pleasurable influence, he uses it as medium to express his own artistic abilities.
“Each time I entertain, food becomes the central concept for expression,” he said.
Regarding food as art, entertainment and pleasure, he was adamant that we eat with our eyes first, and particularly when we overeat, as that has to do with the fact that we break the delicate balance of emotions with regard to eating.
“Eating should be mindful, there should be enjoyment of sight, aroma, texture, taste and sometimes even sound,” he advised.
Food images have been used since the Stone Age, when cave painters used vegetable juice and animal fats as binding ingredients in their paints. The Egyptians carved pictographs of food on hieroglyphic tablets, and buried their dead with enough food supplies for the afterlife.
During the Dutch golden age of still-life paintings, people showed off their meals in paintings – almost like people today on Facebook and Instagram.
Read more: Vroue word geleer om stroomop te kan swem
He mentioned that in 2017 people worldwide took 1,2 trillion digital images, of which 1,8 billion were uploaded on the Internet every day – evidence of a new form of self-expression.
He concluded that food was his own personal art, although it could be viewed as an art form with a particularly short lifespan.
Despite this closing ceremony, the artwork will still be on exhibition for a week or two.