Using sound, photography, and food respectively, artists Emeka Oghoh, Iké Udé, and Temitayo Ogunbiyi with chef Renèe Chuks question assumptions concerning culture, geography, and identity. By appealing to the senses, these artists urge audiences to remember and recognize the complexity inherent in representation; natural, spiritual, and social ecosystems; and the performances within everyday life.
Taste! is a platform for creative encounters centering on a multifaceted, far-reaching Lagos. Realized in collaboration with the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), ART X Lagos, and the African Artists’ Foundation, Taste! is the foundation experience of 24 Hours of the Smithsonian in Lagos, the inaugural event that launches the National Museum of African Art’s new international presence.
Taste! Memory is a collaboration between Lagos-based visual artist Temitayo Ogunbiyi and chef Renèe Chuks. Their menu of food and drink—fresh Cuban mint and broccoli leaves grown in Ogunbiyi’s home garden mixed with Chef Renèe’s locally sourced squid ink, pineapple, hibiscus, turmeric, and bambara—honors their connections to Yoruba cooking techniques.
This project draws on Nigerian-Jamaican-American Ogunbiyi’s practice that seeks to position plant knowledge she has learned in Lagos in dialogue with Western study of plants. Her strategies document the transformations of botanicals as they are prepared for eating. Her works fuse botanical forms with the shapes of hairstyles she has observed in the Caribbean, West Africa, and elsewhere. Selections from Ogunbiyi’s forms are printed on the servers’ and ushers’ custom aprons, as well as on take-home gift items.
Chef Renèe Chuks
Chef Renèe Chuks is a culinary innovator and entrepreneur specializing in combining local and diasporic ingredients to support more sustainable and empowering food chains. She is the cofounder and CEO of Aldente Africa, an artisanal food and beverage company, and executive academic director and lead chef instructor at the Umami Center for Culinary Arts. Chuks is a classically trained French chef, graduating from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Austin, Texas.
Temitayo Ogunbiyi creates works on paper, paintings, sculptures, and ambitious installations. In addition to exploring plants as they live around her, she also aims to record the socio-economic conditions they exist within and how they are transformed in a wide range of culinary traditions. Ogunbiyi received a 2020–2021 Digital Earth Fellowship, a 2018 Smithsonian Artist in Research Fellowship, and a 2014 Ford Foundation Fellowship. Her artwork has been exhibited at the Madre Museum (Naples, Italy), the 2019 Lagos Biennial, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, and the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos, among other venues. She is also a director of Yinka Shonibare CBE’s Guest Artist Space Foundation.