CT Food Design Expo

Cape Town hosts “Making of Food” exhibition

A thought-provoking Cape Town exhibition, Design & Making the Story of Food, traces the evolution of craft and design through food – in particular, the vessels used for its preservation, storage, packaging and distribution. The show is at the Castle of Good Hope from 12 May-12 October this year, and is a collaboration between the Cape Craft & Design Institute (CCDI) and Iziko Museums of South Africa’s Social History Collections Department. It is an official Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 project (#461).

Installations reveal how the story of food preservation, storage and packaging over time is vast and complex. From using found objects such as ostrich eggs and gourds, and objects made from clay, wood, grass and other materials, we now store food in freezers, plastic, cardboard, glass and vacuum-packaging.

And while we still have the same food types such as grains and cereals, in our current era there is a proliferation of ‘created’ foodstuffs such as energy drinks and same-size fruit and vegetables.

The exhibition story is told through installations and objects: a large group of historic African, European and Asian objects sourced from Iziko’s Collections stands alongside 30 contemporary objects created by designer-makers from the Western Cape. There are also examples of modern packaging.

The curators are independent consultants Rayda Becker and June Hosford, Esther Esmyol and Wieke van Delen (Iziko Museums), Vikki du Preez (Cape Peninsula University of Technology); it was project managed by Marjorie Naidoo (CCDI) and exhibition designer Aidan Bennetts.

Support and/or sponsorship come from the Distell Foundation, Zonnebloem Wines, Business and Arts South Africa and recycling companies PETCO and Select-A-Can.

As well as assisting with the establishment of the exhibition in collaboration with the Distell Foundation, Zonnebloem Wines has contributed to a display of older bottles of wine. The company has also supplied 100 Zonnebloem wine bottles from which a dramatic art piece was created, designed by Bennetts. This will be displayed at the Oude Libertas Art Gallery in Stellenbosch once the exhibition closes.

Erica Elk, Executive Director of the CCDI, said: “In presenting an exhibition as part of World Design Capital, we wanted to illustrate how the process of design has in fact existed since the beginning of time – when all we had was our hands and easily accessible materials to mediate our environment for our survival and growth – and also our enjoyment and pleasure.

“Developing this narrative also presents the opportunity to show how craft and design – often pitted against each other in public discourse and perception – represent a continuum of making processes that result in products. Design is not absent from the process of making things by hand. There is design in craft and craft in design and we want people to engage with these congruencies.”

“In focusing on food, we are focusing on the essence of life, the grand sweep of history, monumental shifts in the landscape of production, industry, and commerce, and the impact of all this on society, communities, and ordinary people,” said Marjorie Naidoo.

“We chose the storage, preservation and packaging of food as this is object-based, and we could draw on the rich store of Iziko’s Social History Collections, as well as contemporary designer-makers, and the complex contribution of the industrialised era.”

Wieke van Delen, Curator: Social History at Iziko Museums, said: “We hold richly diverse collections, from indigenous cultural objects from southern Africa, to artifacts from the colonial period of the Cape and collections of world ceramics, furniture, coins and textiles, among others.

“Iziko enjoys entering into partnerships that enable it to showcase the beautiful and thought-provoking items in its collections. It is also an opportunity to nurture a greater appreciation of social history through material objects – which range from sharp stone tools used 1.7 million years ago to 20th century Zambian storage baskets. We hope that this exhibition will attract everyone from school learners to cognoscenti of the arts.”

Global Marketing Manager for Zonnebloem Wines, De Mari Kellerman, said: “Zonnebloem Wines has embarked on a journey to embrace the rich history and heritage of our wine brand whilst planting our feet firmly in the future. Our support of the CCDI exhibition at the Castle of Good Hope is us recognising our past, while also setting out our ambitions for the future. New generations of wine lovers will be able to read the history of wine transportation and appreciate the wines they can enjoy today.”

The exhibition also reveals how vessels used for storage, preservation and packaging of food have been radically influenced through human development and technological innovation. These include the discovery of fire, salt, glass, electricity, new materials such as plastic, aluminium and cardboard; the development of fast production methods which has led to the industrialisation of food production, and contemporary challenges created by convenience food, consumerism, waste and the ultimate inequity of food insecurity in the context of global excess – all of which could do with some design solutions.

Dates to diarise: 14 May-12 October 2014

Location: Iziko Good Hope Gallery, Castle of Good Hope, Buitenkant Street, Cape Town. Gates open 09h00 daily (last entry 15h30 – close at 16h00).

Entrance to the Castle: Adults R30, pensioners (SA card holders only) R15, children/students (5-16 years) R15, booked school groups R5.