Artist Hong Yi spent a month making art out of food. Here are some of her compositions and captions: "Day 15: Guess who stay in these three little houses? House 1 made of angel hair pasta, house 2 biscuit sticks, house 3 dried chilli. Stuck together with peanut butter. Dill for grass."

"Day 16: Three Little Pigs…part 2. Wolf made of charcoal bread, pigs made of kidney beans."

"Day 17: Three Little Pigs - Part 3. This is how the third pig REALLY got away. He’s a big Pixar fan as you can tell."

"Day 4: My heart is so heavy. Please pray for Sabah."

"Day 14: Arctic melting. Something a little simpler today. I missed out on yesterday’s post cos I have a deadline today, and daylight was gone by the time I was done with work yesterday. Looking forward to this weekend where I’ll make up for the missing post! :)"

"Day 26: The Malaysian parliament has dissolved! Malaysia, let’s make wise choices for the upcoming 13th general election! I’ll be traveling to the States but will def be coming back to vote! Made of Tang orange powder dissolved in water"

2013-04-17

Co.Exist

This Art Is Made From Food, But It's More Than Just Playing

Artist Hong Yi spent a month creating a food-based composition every day. The work often managed to address ideas beyond what you might think possible when you’re using condiments as your medium.

Here’s an exercise in creativity: Try to make a piece of art, every single day, for a month. With your food.

This is the task Malaysian artist Hong Yi set herself at the beginning of March. It was a way of forcing herself to go small and simple, after making a portrait of Aung Sun Suu Kyi that took a month of work, a crew of 20 and 2,000 carnations. Hong says the exercise in simplicity worked. “I learned I don’t and shouldn’t have to wait for the right idea or perfect work; for me, a sort of artistic momentum built up day by day and the more I pushed myself, the easier it got,” she told us over email. “So what I learned from that is not to ‘overthink’—Just do it. Like Nike says.”

Many of them are purely playful, like a three day triptych that reimagines the story of the three little pigs. As she wrote in her third caption: “This is how the third pig REALLY got away. He’s a big Pixar fan as you can tell.”

But other pieces are more political, like her March 4 work: a map made out of soy sauce, with Malaysia’s Sabah province in bright red ketchup. The Royal Army of Sulu—an armed Filipino group answering to Sultan Jamalulu Kiram III—invaded Sabah over an ancestral land claim, and by the time she put condiments to plate, 26 people had been killed in their three-week stand-off with Malaysian forces. "’Pray For Sabah’ was my way to express my pain over the loss of lives and unrest in Sabah, my home state, recently,” Hong said.

She also took on climate change with a melting dilly bar. “Art can be more than just aesthetic,” she said. “Think Ai Weiwei, Banksy and JR.”

Another expressed joy at the dissolution of parliament—a first step towards a new election. She decided to make that one out of Tang. “The color yellow just happened because I wanted something that effervesces,” she said, “and Tang would stand out on a white plate rather than say Eno, a popular antacid that is white.”

There were many more ideas that never made it all the way from sketchbook to plate. “Taylor Swift made with instant noodles was a disaster—she looked like a man,” Hong said. “Frida Kahlo was done like a salad and looked like a salad. And a man too.”

If you’re in California, you can find Hong at the EG Conference in Monterey on April 19, where she’ll be presenting “A visual feast.”

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