Folklore, family histories and fantastical tales are often shared together with and by means of food. Consumption asks people to slow down, be seated, repose, refresh and pause. On another level, food's place at the dinner table is laden with cultural attachments. It tells histories of human dispersion, refuge, immigration, and conflict (spatially and through history) - with each narrative traceable within a mouthful. Every component of a plate harks back to the evolution of ancient recipes, transports us to a time remembered in taste. The safety that eating together offers will always harbour a special place in the hearts of Mancunians and the diaspora that our city homes. On The Rag celebrates the space food creates, allowing memory, change, nostalgia, and nourishment to exist at a crowded table.
Our multifaceted event marries Contemporary art in all its mediums, performance, spoken word, theatre and food in a way that allows art and its consumption (its viewership ‘breaking bread’) to co-exist on equal platforms. As a collective, we look to question notions of ‘high’ art; we deeply consider practices of consumption and the lack of longevity that marks the art world - intending instead to underscore sustainability’s integral position in new art practices. With the ‘shelf-life’ of art and ideas continually under threat, Breaking Bread uses ‘dinner’ as an entry point to lasting conceptual artwork that explores historical and familiar roots alongside interpersonal relationships not only with self/other but with self/self. The endurance of these ideas we hope will extend laterally beyond the show into further projects that place the sustainability of ideas and of the environment within which they are created at the forefront. Our new gallery space intends to reach audiences from facets of Manchester that remain unfamiliar with often exclusionary and inaccessible gallery spaces and inundate them with delectable visual, mental, sensory, and gustatory feasts offering warm and inviting access into leading art culture in Manchester.
The artwork shown takes this theme to its outermost stretches, conceptualising what it means to be nourished and airing issues of identity and relationships found within unique practices of consumption that may otherwise go unspoken.