Reflections on the Fanta Celah art opening
Last Monday night, Open Produce hosted our first art opening, with painter
and photographer Fanta Celah. We invited folks to come into the store to
see the artwork, eat free food, and buy some of either to enjoy later. For
some reason, the combination worked. Friends of the store, friends of the
artist, and new faces came in for both art and food.
It’s a natural connection, and it’s easy. Art and food come inside of us,
enriching permanently and requiring nothing but a sense of taste. And when
they’re good to us, it’s because of our own aesthetic and physical needs.
It’s because their chemistry reflects and compliments our history. This
makes it sort of secret. When we’re eating and seeing, nobody else knows
what we’re feeling. The spice, the sugar high, and the memories exist only
for us. We know that other people share cultural histories and need the
same nutrients, and yet personal tastes hold sway more in food and art than
any other areas of life. When we share these things, we respect one
another’s personality while exalting in similarities. It is our pleasure to
be able to share them both now in our store.
Fanta Celah’s work lends itself to the atmosphere of Open Produce. Her
glossy textures and vibrant street scenes seem at home above a pile of
fresh mustard greens. Exploring *Mothers of Creation: Les Nubians*, I want
to sit down in a huge basket of plums and eat my fill. And the grocery
store lends itself to her. The artist has curated a photography selection
from her travels in Egypt, Ethiopia, and India, that almost requires a
real-life setting. The images would be unsettling blips of action in a
traditional gallery, but here they draw direct connections between people’s
lives. I’m in tune with the people in the photos, moving at the same pace.
And as Fanta Celah brings out the joy in the common scenes she photographs,
I feel joy in grocery shopping. I think this feeling already existed in
Open Produce, but now it is made explicit and global.
It is strange to explore art and food publicly; we gain an awareness of
individuality and commonality through a complex personal experience. Fanta
Celah’s work keenly reflects our connectivity, while giving richly to each
Written by OP clerk Sean Nicholson