Ahilapalapa Rands introduces ‘The Sewerby Cookbook’

Posted on 21.03.2018

We’re so excited to be launching the ‘Sewerby Cookbook’ with a ‘fuddle’ this Sunday, 25th March at Sewerby Hall, Bridlington East Riding. 

The ‘Sewerby Cookbook’ is by international artist Ahilapalapa Rands, artist-in-residence at Sewerby Hall & Gardens as one of Invisible Dust’s commissioned Surroundings artists. Rands has been meeting staff from the Hall, from cooks to curators, and spending time in the wonderful walled garden, learning about local growing. Rands has created an artist community cookbook inspired by recipes; new and old, from Bridlington, the East Riding and further afield. The cookbook includes over 40 recipes submitted by local people, including international recipes supplied by some of the newcomers to Hull that are learning English with Hull-based community organisation, Welcome to English. The Sewerby Cookbook will be available from 25th March onwards if you visit Sewerby Hall.

Ahead of the launch we asked Ahilapalapa how she’s feeling about the upcoming event, which will include a performance by the Coastal Voices Choir and an exhibition on the first floor of the Hall including the Worklink project – a creative writing project about food with people with learning disabilities who work in the gardens of Sewerby Hall:

“I’m really looking forward to being able to come back to Sewerby Hall and that beautiful coastline for the launch of the cookbook project.  It will be great to see everyone I got to know during the 2 months I was on my residency.

I arrived from New Zealand to Scarborough in Sept 2017 after a long haul and several trains, I could’ve been anywhere from my tiredness and the nightfall. On waking the first thing I saw was the North Sea. Just gorgeous, and really grounding as NZ is an ocean island too. The sea is never too far away in my part of the world so it felt comforting and familiar. Working on this project and working with people’s relationships to food has been an amazing way to get to know a place as someone not from this area. There’s nothing more intimate than the decisions you make about food preparation and the taste you develop, behind every ingredient in your food basket there is a history unique to your situation, your land and your people.

The launch is going to be based around a “fuddle” – a form of food sharing specific to Yorkshire in which everyone brings a plate of something to share with others. I love this as it’s how we do things in the Pacific as well. Manaakitanga, (a Māori concept which can be translated as reciprocity) is a foundational principle in many island cultures.
While I was based in Bridlington my commute to work involved a walk through town past Northman coffee (highly recommend) to the Leisure centre where I caught the land train along the cliffs up to the hall. Looking out at the ocean riding a giant toy train was surreal. I think that has been my best commute yet.

It’s been wonderful working with Adrian from Electric Angel on the graphic design. Being based in Scarborough he’s local and has worked on projects at the Hall and Gardens so this has lent a sensitivity to the layout and colour palette that’s really special.”

The Cookbook combines local contemporary and historical recipes into a collaborative publication looking through the lens of cooking and archiving to explore how our relationship to food and food culture has changed over time. Rands has been advised by Sarah Coe, Food Scientist from the British Nutrition Foundation. It is the final artist project for ‘We Are What We Eat’, for the first year of ‘Surroundings’.

Rands is a New Zealand artist-in-residence, presented in collaboration with the Centre of Contemporary Art, CoCA, Christchurch. 

‘Surroundings’ is a 3 year programme 2017-2020 of international artists residencies and exhibitions on environmental themes curated by Invisible Dust, produced by the Humber Museums Partnership.

Bringing together artists and scientists to produce artworks that explore our environment in 16 Museums across Hull, East Riding and North Lincs. In 2018 our focus is on migration and climate change. In 2017 it was ‘We Are What We Eat’ on food and sustainability and in 2019 it will be biodiversity and landscape. Over the programme we expect these important themes to inform one another and overlap through the artists work and education events. It is funded by an Ambitions for Excellence grant from Arts Council England and Sustaining Excellence grant from the Wellcome Trust.

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