Drawing Around Food: A Socio-political & Cultural Exploration

Online talk Sun 4 July

Huma Kabakcı, Independent Curator and Development Manager at Drawing Room, will be in conversation with artists Bobby Baker, Lindsey Mendick, Olivia Sterling and Caroline Wong to explore the relationships between food and their artistic practices through the drawings they have made for Drawing Biennial 2021. The panel discussion will explore themes around the right to female pleasure, domesticity, race, and revulsion in the context of food politics.

About the artists

Born in 1950, Kent, Bobby Baker lives and works in London. Baker’s acclaimed intersectional feminist practice includes performance, drawing, and installation and persistently exposes the undervalued and stigmatised aspects of women’s daily lives: from domestic labour to recovery and survival in the mental health system. Key works include Drawing on a Mother’s Experience (1988), Kitchen Show (1991), Diary Drawings (1997-2008), and most recently, Great & Tiny War (2018). Over a four-decade career Baker has performed and exhibited her work extensively across the UK and internationally. Venues range from her own kitchen and other domestic spaces to world-renowned festivals, museums, galleries and performing arts centres including Southbank Centre, the ICA (London), Barbican, IKON Gallery: Münchner Künstlerhaus, Munich; P.S.122 New York and Performing Arts Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and Adelaide Festival, Victoria; World Stage Festival, Toronto. 

Born 1987, Lindsey Mendick lives and works in London. Mendick’s practice is hinged on her skilled work in ceramics, which she describes being drawn to for its tactile nature and its desire to be manipulated by the maker. She also embraces banner painting, sewing, metalwork, furniture making, and sound within her autobiographical practice. By playfully combining low culture iconography and high culture methods of construction, Mendick creates humorously decadent and elaborate installations that enable the viewer to explore their personal history in a cathartic fashion. 

Born in 1996 in Peterborough, Olivia Sterling lives and works in London. Sterling uses painting to address questions of blackness and whiteness in twenty-first century Britain. Her work presents scenes of colourful mayhem with a nostalgic twist and signature ‘slapstick’ style, combining joyous celebration with a subtle critique of racialised ways of seeing. Blending pointed references like this into her depiction of ordinary scenes and subjects, Sterling’s work reflects on how we are confronted by racialized discourse everywhere in the everyday. Even happy or anodyne spaces are encoded with structures of othering and difference; every object, every skin tone, is assigned its place in a drama that continues beyond the edges of the canvas. 

Born in 1986 in Malaysia, Caroline Wong lives and works in London. For Wong, the act of creating, much like eating, is sensuous and consuming. Whether found, recovered, or taken from life models, images of women are her work's foundation. As the connecting tissue of her practice is a subversive response to traditional, restricted representations of East Asian women, she looks for a kind of confidence, a rebellion, an emotional voluptuousness in her subjects which translates to the way she works. Wong luxuriates in the epicurean side of herself, producing excitable, expressive marks and heated, joyful colour driven by a hedonistic desire for fun, producing work that is a jubilant pushback against tradition. Her work is held in public and private collections including The Wing, London, and The Royal Institution, London.