[ Around the Table ]
Food punctuates daily life and shapes family traditions. It is a manifestation of commonality and culture. Your childhood may have been nurtured by food memories—of meals and mealtimes, of abundance or want, of family roles and rituals. We each may take our small comforts from Wonder Bread, roti, pita, tortillas, challah, injera, or bánh….
Our “daily bread” takes centerstage in the first installment of Around the Table, Jitish Kallat’s expansive installation Epilogue (2010 – 2011). Here, Kallat honors his late father through a deeply personal series of photographs of progressively eaten roti (the round, traditional South Asian flatbread). Each image represents one of the 22,000 moons that bore witness to his father’s 62-year lifespan. Epilogue is a metaphorical meditation on sustenance and time.
Kallat focuses on universal themes of birth, death, survival—what he calls the “endless narratives of human struggle.” He is based in Mumbai, and much of his work has been inspired by the chaotic urban streets he navigates daily. In Epilogue, however, he stepped back from the noise to pay respect to his father, with whom he undoubtedly shared many roti around the family table. Kallat reminds viewers of life’s natural ebb and flow and of the things that nourish us—bread, the staff of life; family; celestial rhythms.
Visitors may remember Kallat’s work from SJMA’s 2011 exhibition Roots in the Air: Branches Below: Modern and Contemporary Art from India. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; The Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Singapore Art Museum; FAAM (Fukuoka Asian Art Museum), Japan; the Sigg Collection, Switzerland; and other institutions around the world.