Artists probe Filipino food’s cultural nuances in ‘Super Sarap’
HOUSTON, Texas — A new mixed-media exhibition celebrating Filipino food is currently at the Asia Society Texas Center (ASTC). It is the center’s first exhibition focusing on Filipino American artists.
Super Sarap, a free exhibition, features four artists making their Texas debuts: Mik Gaspay; Jeanne F. Jalandoni; Charlene Tan; and O.M. France Viana. It tackles common perceptions of Filipino culinary traditions while exploring how cultural norms and food intertwine.
The exhibition’s name, Super Sarap, comes from the Tagalog word “sarap,” which means delicious or tasty. It features a wide variety of media including sculpture, photography, video, neon displays.
Viewers are invited to engage with the artists’ perspectives on common items like rice cookers, decorative forks and spoons, traditional balikbayan Filipino care packages, the ube purple yam, the langka or jackfruit, as well as traditional Filipino ingredients like the avocado, banana, guava, tapioca, and halo-halo, an ice cream-based dessert.
“In the last several years, chefs and foodies from around the country have hailed Filipino cooking as the ‘next big food trend’, but that is a label that often appears only on ‘ethnic cuisine,” says guest curator Patricia Cariño Valdez. “Trendify-ing a cuisine dismisses the historic nuances and communities that developed it.”
In Super Sarap, the four artists seek to invert and examine this trend by exploring their own relationships with Filipino cuisine as well as sensitive issues such as cultural appropriation, immigration experiences, and how food can be a vehicle for broader cultural meanings.
Super Sarap is on display at the Asia Society Texas Center — 1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston, Texas –until Sunday, July 21, 2019. The exhibition is free and open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
For more information on Super Sarap or any other exhibitions, visit asiasociety.org/texas.