Recipes For Resistance

Recipes For Resistance

Recipes for Resistance

Exhibition: Sabba Khan, Jasleen Kaur, Navi Kaur, Yas Lime and Raju Rage

May 22 May 2021- Feb 2022

Ort Gallery, Balsall Heath, Birmingham

Publication: Raisa Kabir, Sabba Khan, Queer Masala, Nandini Moitra, Zarina Muhammad, Raju Rage, YSK Prerana, Vijeta Kumar, Edible Archives and WAH! Womxn Artists of Colour.

Curated and edited by Raju Rage

Recipes for Resistance is an ongoing interactive multimedia art project which explores the politics of food and its relationship to migration, belonging, memory, culture, coloniality, gender, resilience, adaptability and resistance.

It functions as both a metaphor for and testimony to survival.

Long in the making, it initially started as a zine and has grown into a group exhibition of five artists: Sabba Khan, Jasleen Kaur, Navi Kaur and Raju Rage. Artist in residence Yas Lime creatively responded to the exhibition in its duration. The show included video, photography, audio, illustration and sculpture, with a library of resources that explores food, migration and politics in nuance and complexity. The exhibition is a culmination of research, collection and relationship building by Raju Rage.

The exhibition also features a new publication of the same name produced by Raju Rage, which is a crucial element of the

show, that spans poetry, testimonies, articles, cross generational conversations, interviews, illustrations, photography and recipes.

Themes of the exhibition and publication: allotments, foraging, migration, queerness, diaspora; anorexia and eating disorders; indigenous ingredients, edible archives, memory and body, cross generational conversations, legacy, community kitchens, coloniality, gender, caste, hybridity and fusion, and of course pleasures.

The exhibition and publication centred on South Asian voices, from South Asia and the diaspora, in an attempt to connect them better and platform issues of ethnicity, religion, caste and gender. The British South Asian identity and it’s relation to food has often been flattened down and simplified, as can be witnesses with the British ‘curry’, when there are actually many complexities. There are much needed conversations to be had, in order to unpack these important issues. This exhibition also relates and connects to the legacies of South Asian culture and community in Birmingham (as well as other parts of the UK) of which there is a considerable heritage. The exhibition and publication carve ‘conversations’ between South Asian creative producers who are engaging with culinary themes but are exploring them differently.

About the artists

Raju Rage has a theirstory in activism, self and collective organised queer/ transgender/ people of colour movements and creative projects in London and beyond from which their politics and works draw on and from. They explore the spaces and relationships between dis/connected bodies, theory and practice, text and the body and aesthetics and the political substance. They are a member of Collective Creativity arts collective, A Peoples Art Collective and a creative educator with an interest in radical pedagogy.

Navi Kaur is an artist and educator based in Birmingham. Navi works closely with her paternal grandparents to better understand her own heritage and culture through feelings of displacement in organised environments and highlights the importance of celebrating cultural diversity through cross collaboration. Inspired by an archive of family photographs found in her grandparents’ home, she produces work in response to the lives they have built here in the U.K, encompassing their Sikh faith and daily regimes, working predominantly through the processes of digital photography, film and installation.

Jasleen Kaur is an artist living and working in London. Her work is an ongoing exploration into the malleability of culture and the layering of social histories within the material and immaterial things that surround us. Her practice explores diasporic identity, personal and colonial histories. She works with sculpture, video, sound and writing.
Recent and ongoing commissions include Wellcome Collection, UP Projects, Glasgow Women’s Library, Market Gallery, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Eastside Projects and Hollybush Gardens. Her work is part of the permanent collection of Touchstones Rochdale, Royal College of Art and Crafts Council.

Sabba Khan is an architectural designer and graphic novelist. Her work is an exploration of first world city life as a second generation Azad Kashmiri Muslim migrant. She explores themes of belonging, memory and identity underpinned by philosophical and psychotherapy concepts that explore the nature of self within and outside of the collective. Using a hybrid of text and visual commentary, she sits at the intersection of visual storytelling, poetry, and spatial form. Her forthcoming graphic novel is due for release in 2021 by Myriad Editions. 

Yas Lime is a non-binary, brown, working class artist-curator. They enjoy putting on shows in existing community spaces while tending to their ever evolving visual arts practice. Most of the work they create is thanks to their mum. Yas’ mottos include “art is for everyone” and “eat the rich.”

Creative responses by Cairo Clarke, Priya Jay and Raj Goody

Recipes For Resistance: Exploring South Asian Identities Through The Prism Of Food

Creative Responses: Recipes For Resistance

Dear Raju, thank you for putting together this amazing publication and posting these creative responses. There is so much to celebrate and praise in this work; so many reasons that this work needs to be read, heard, shared. I really love the conversation with Rajiv/Queer Masala about foraging, how you present these images of brown bodies claiming green space in London and the UK, finding ways to relate to the environment that enable belonging in opposition to the nation-state’s imposition of hostility. Nandini Moitra’s illustrations and handwriting depicting Bengali vegetarian cuisine, Kasundi, and Posto, which open with misogyny, castism, colonialism, and deprivation without ever letting go of vibrancy, ecological care, and collective pleasure – an essential interweaving. I love that this publication is as beautiful to feel/touch as it is to read, that it is poetic and helpful, as nourishing as its recipes. The continued responses on the blog make a gorgeous and accessible complement, suggesting other approaches and sensory experiences, inviting readers to take part, to recall their own stories and smells and ‘sticky traces’ (as Priya Jay puts it), because a project like this can never be concluded, remains as unfinished as our journeys, struggles, and recipe collections! Thank you so much! I can’t wait for more! xx Nisha Ramayya  Submitted on: 8 August 2020 at 19:07

I’m based in rural Northumberland and even without a pandemic it’s unlikely I would have made it to the Ort Gallery to see the exhibition, so really appreciated having access to art from a remote location. I was also pleased being able to support artists and curators from afar
As a physical object I love the zine, its recycled paper and riso print finish are absolutely gorgeous to hold in the hand. It well reflects the tactile nature of food and cooking. Also it’s great that I can return to it over time and re-read.

I learned so much about the political baggage inherent in eating, sourcing food as an act of rebellion, casteism and religious prejudice in relation to foods, and understanding the origins of recipes and their social and political legacies. The variety of multimedia contributors worked excellently together, each provided different sensory experiences through their writing and imagery. It was great to read so many South Asian voices, such a break from white-centred takes on all of these themes. It also gave me a host of new creatives to follow and support on socials.

Thanks for compiling it and sharing it too. Excellent work from everyone, it definitely felt like a shifting point in the art scene and I look forward to following future work from all contributors.

Sarah-Mary Geissler 14 August 2020 at 11:35

Thanks for your review that sums up this collective masterpiece perfectly. 

Fahro Malik · October 28, 2020 at 09:04:12