I ran into Taina between refrigerators in her Entretempo Kitchen Gallery, where the exhibition, Fridge! was on. Why a Food Art Week, I asked her, when you already make Food Art all the time? “I want to bring people together. So much is happening right now with food and art that it’d be great for us all to work together.”
The original plan was to create an intimate week of exchange and exhibitions full of food, encounters, workshops and art. Berlin spaces such as Agora, Entretempo Kitchen Gallery, Contemporary Food Lab and Zagreus, as well as artist and chef friends would finally be able to connect. They would show one another and the city the processes currently underway in the field of food and art.
Yet Taina underestimated just how good her idea really was. In a minimum of time she received applications from all over the world. Projects completely outside of her network were submitted. The Berlin Food Art Week program currently includes over 60 events at 30 sites.
When speaking of Food Art, an extension of the current foodie hype, the rather annoying question as to whether food is art and art is food gets discussed on various levels to the point of beating a dead horse. But Taina creates neither differences nor connections, which is very refreshing. She just makes things.
Taina was born to an artist and a Japanese literature teacher in Sao Paolo. At 13 she started working at a radio station, and at 18, while studying culinary arts, she opened her first restaurant: Nakombi, Japanese cuisine in a Kombi (Volkswagen panel van). In nine years she opened three more restaurants, experimenting with traditional recipes and developing an underwear collection with shunga designs. In order to understand the magnitude of Taina’s first catwalk provocation it is helpful to know that putting your feet on the table is strictly forbidden in Japan. She pushed the tables in her restaurant together and had the Brazilian MTV host at the time walk on them. It was a stand against the narrow-mindedness of many tradition-conscious Japanese people, with whom she would continue to fight throughout her life.
Ultimately, she wants nothing less than revolution. She dreams of a state of affairs in which people contemplate matters that really matter, imagine… Art and food are very strong when it comes to people. But other means are alright with her, too. With the students at Papageno School she created a Musical Garden and received the UNESCO Prize for Engagement.
Berlin Food Art Week’s program and participants are highly diverse and could not in any circumstances be brought together under one umbrella term, including Food Art. But if there really is such a thing as Food Art, it is important for people to understand that it is something other than a well-prepared dish or a meal next to a painting. It is much more.
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is reality.” Yoko Ono
Places for workshops and dinners are limited. Get your tickets here.