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Home » Alternative Issue, Features

Alternative Issue: Recipes on walls – Gourmandizing, what are you Hungry for?

Submitted by on March 5, 2013 – 2:25 pmNo Comment

Gourmandizing London working on a mural.

Two Americans have launched a project that uses public art to share recipes, which are painted across walls in South East London.

Gourmandizing London is an artwork and community project that aims to celebrate the diversity of people, through a series of recipes collected for residents living in the nearby communities.

Jason Page, one of the founders explained Gourmandizing, he said: “Gourmandizing London is a series of murals that are visual and artistic representations of recipes that we collect from people, kitchens and restaurants of the neighbourhoods of South East London. We are all hungry. But what are we hungry for? Gourmandizing answers that question.”

Page works alongside visual artist and chef, Matthew McGuinness, who came up with the idea a few years ago. They use their murals to engage with communities, and bring people from diverse backgrounds together.

Gourmandizing has formed relationships with curators, and they are interested in creating workshops for young people and families. Page said: “Our interest lies with bringing the art and healthy eating/cooking habits to new communities of people. We grow as our community grows.”

Shared recipes are submitted to them, cooked, and then sketched before being painted onto walls.Page explained why the recipes are painted on walls, he said: “Walls are the face of the community and hold up the buildings that tower over the high streets. Walls are flat surfaces that are often waiting to be beautified with the voice and creativity of the community. Although, we will paint on anything, as long as it is sanctioned by the owner…and holds the paint well.”

Property owners commission the murals, and permission is always sought before walls are painted on. Page explained none of Gourmandizing’s work is graffiti.

Page and McGuinness decided to set up their project in South East London, as they believed the area was beginning to transform into a cultural hub within the capital.

Page said: “South East London is a vibrant area of the city that is getting a lot of attention at the moment. We often tell people that South East London in 2013 is exactly like Brooklyn in 1998. [We’re] both from Brooklyn, and watched our borough go through tremendous changes as more and more middle-class people moved across the river almost 15 years ago.”

Sponsors usually provide painting materials, or budgets are created with property owners. The project founders hope to create enough artwork to gain funding from larger arts-based organisations, and city funded arts projects.

Page believes that Gourmandizing is more about building a community than painting murals, and has high hopes for the project’s future. He said: “We hope to make murals on as many high streets as possible.”

The founder believes there are numerous possibilities ahead. He said: “From publishing, to a restaurant to a global movement at the intersection of food and art. Sky’s the limit.”

Murals created by Page and McGuinness are creatively restoring a chapter in art history, one neighbourhood at a time. This comes as a number of murals are being lost across the UK. “Gourmandizing cannot and will not be stopped. We’ll go until we Gourmandize the whole world.” Page said.

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