Cooking with Baba Das, Spring greens. (2020)
The work on show is a take on the lack of initial representation felt from looking through the galleries collection- Combined with the artists personal history in participating in marches and protests culminating outside The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.
Food is a substance that unites us on a base level though some have more whilst others have too much. Cabbages were found depicted in many paintings, so Satoshi's use of spring greens (young collard greens) is a subterfuge to the eurocentric dialogue and nods to a staple in African American soul food. The act of cooking is a chemical and powerful thing, the bringing together of different ingredients from different backgrounds and merging them into one pot. The artist continues his subterfuge by using replacements to what would be expected, such as Korean Gochujong paste instead of tomato sauce, as well as his signature costume selections- each feeding a different aspect of the narrative. A touch of spring. It is a reminder that you can not change where you come from but you can change how you use your experiences and which aspects (of society) we should continue to feed and nourish. He recalls the end of protests culminating at the square and receiving free nourishment of black tea and herbs wrapped in flat bread by those less able to physically take part in the march, the marches for freedom and change.
Dastan Satoshi identities as a Queer Trans Man of Colour with a lower economic background who explores his use of personal perspective- and his message is clear, 'our experiences shape us and provides the strength to maintain dignity, and stereotypes should not define who and what we are, only we can do that but freedom comes to those who accept that no one can control how others interpret them. We are all different, together.'
(Central Saint Martins, London, XD)