Exhibition text by Blerta Hocia
Artists: Adela Jušić, Nardina Zubanović, Beskida Kraja
04th of August at Miza Gallery, Tirana
Photo: video performance”A dinner for Three” by Adela Jušić, 2009
View exhibition opening photos on Google +
The meal we are enjoying together, before becoming a food, is a ritual and a way of communication.This specific ritual speaks a language, which is always universal and contemporary.
In prevailing anthropological readings, cooking food was the first action of cultured societies that created a clear distinction between people and the animals.
The passage from raw to cooked marks first of all a cultural development transmutes human from primate state into the social man.
According to Claude Levi – Strauss, humans contains both; they are at once biological beings and social individuals since with the act of cooking they are able to transform natural material into cultural products.
In the socio – biological study A Zoologist’s Of The Human Animal, Desmond Morris describes the behavior and the compartmental human history of evolution.
For their survivor, people had to hunt. They needed a better-evolved brain to replace the absence of strength. Also their natural physique wasn’t as agile compared to the other animals.
As a consequence, to educate and develop the brain, humans needed a more prolonged childhood. To achieve this, among other reasons, human began to live in couples and practice monogamy. Gender roles were inevitably separated to the detriment of women that mostly had to stay home and take care of the private sphere by giving birth to children, educating, nurturing etc., while men were out providing food through hunting and warfare.
The couple’s construction scheme, and as a result the essential transformation of the entire society has remained mostly unchanged until today. However, the emergence of the first feminist wave, almost two centuries ago, questioned a whole worldview about gender roles that was completely obsolete, also reviewed and criticized its institutionalized division, of gender roles,the positions of women inside the heterosexual patriarchal patterns, where women continued to perform the functions of the female primate.
Once again, as in the age of cavemen, the male provides food and the female remains trapped in the passive role, deceiving herself with the ridiculous illusion of happy housewife. Lastly after entering the labor market in huge numbers women were left with double burden, still performing the unpaid domestic and reproductive labor.
The works of the three artists have food as common object of cultural value that carries the meaningful symbolism of the society we live in. A changing value that sometimes divides and others merges and connects as we can see in FAMILY of Beskida Kraja, the bread wraps in a holy ritual life of the couple and the family.
In the video-installation “FOOD WITH EXPERIENCE” of Nardina Zubanović, this value becomes a game, which triggers the imagination, transforms the ordinary alimentary context and inquiries the gender role clichés and stereotypes through an ironic and humorous way. In “A DINNER FOR THREE”, a video performance from Adela Jušić, eating is a powerful ritual with symbolic representation of gender, religious and generational differences. The following works are like a recipe for a new meal whose ingredients are compiled together to create a “soft”composition that invites into a new way of thinking.
View video reportage about exhibition on ABC News in Albanian on You Tube