(Work in Progress)
Two distant relatives, Rice and Quinoa, grow in distinctly different environments. Rice, the oldest has had a fascinating and strong relationship with people for over 15,000 years. Growing up, Quinoa has not had the same recognition, until more recently. Quinoa has subsequently become more fashionable in recent times although the history and humble origins of this grain has stayed constant. People predominantly in western societies have started to recognize its natural qualities as a super food, so much so that a whole new economy has emerged around it. Its values are recognized and it is exported and distributed within the global economy. Ironically some of the farmers who grow and harvest Quinoa in its native environment can no longer afford to eat it, even though It’s been their staple diet for generations. On the other hand, rice stayed constant, arguably remaining humble and has perhaps lost a bit of its aura and influence. Many people having arguably moved away from rice, again because of its intrinsic qualities. Moreover, in Western countries Quinoa belongs to the category of the glamorous lifestyle conscious consumer, while Rice is arguably unable to reinvent itself for this fast changing market.
I have observed and can testify to the many different types of rice available in London, perhaps due to the diverse mix of cultures in this multi cultural capital city. What interests me is no matter what ones cultural background is, you can find any variety and quality of rice depending on your budget. To this end my project aims to observe the cultural significance and variation of rice geopolitically, how it impacts and comments on our eating habits, cultural origins and movement, through migration flows and a vast expanding globalization. This project aims to map the humble origins and circulation of rice and provide it with a platform or stage to perform. I will explore this with a range of mediums and materials.
40,000 Rice Varieties, 2016
(Work in Progress)