International guest artist Masha Ru about
eating soil, also in Suriname
At the upcoming Thursday-Night-Feature
(TNF) of Readytex Art Gallery on September 7th, visitors will learn
more about a surprising, and for Suriname still rather unfamiliar, form of art.
For on this evening we introduce guest artist Masha Ru, born in Russia and
living and working in the Netherlands since 2007, whose work is centered around
the subject of edible soil.
These TNF’s in which we offer
international artists a platform in our gallery, serve a variety of purposes.
Just as our artists regularly enjoy the opportunity to present their work to a
new public abroad, we believe that it’s mutually beneficial to reciprocate and
offer certain visiting artists from within our extended international network,
similar opportunities here. By doing so Readytex Art Gallery and her affiliated
artists become more actively involved in the international art world, as a result
of which we also become part of the network of that guest artist. For the art
minded public such a TNF is also extremely informative and sometimes, as is
certainly the case with this TNF, a first introduction to what is for most, an
unfamiliar form of art. The practice of eating soil as a theme within the
visual arts. Rather different, but also quite interesting!
Masha Ru says that she has been interested
in eating soil or similar substances such as clay, from a very young age. She
is not alone in this. Worldwide people from different cultural backgrounds are
known to eat soil. The practice of eating soil even has a name: Geophagy. It is
a subject on which a variety of opinions exist. In some countries it is
considered to be an ancient cultural, spiritual and healing practice, while
elsewhere, mostly in modern western cultures, it is seen as an unhealthy
psychological disorder also known as ‘Pica’.
Masha, who has a scientific background by
the way, has been doing research on this subject for a number of years and
geophagy is present in her artistic practice since 2011. And although many food
authorities advise against eating types of soil, because it can potentially
contain harmful toxins, it has little effect on communities that do so.
In her performances and installations she
invites her public to taste various types of soil and ceramics, as well as to
use them as an ingredient for cooking. She is currently in Suriname to deepen
her research on this theme, because eating soil, particularly ‘pimba’, is also
done in Suriname and is especially common among pregnant maroon women. The
white ‘pimba’ balls are easy to find at almost every market in Suriname. Her
visit is a research phase for the project PIMBA. CLOSING THE GAP, which will
take place in Amsterdam in 2017-2018 with the support of AFK, ‘Amsterdams Fonds
voor de Kunst’. With her project and artistic presentations Masha hopes to lift
some of the taboo associated with the subject, and to create a dialogue between
cultures, and between science and spirituality.
At the TNF of Thursday September 7th,
Masha will tell the public more about this interesting subject and she will
also have several samples of edible soil on display. She will also discuss the
different sides of geophagy and will share, also through video material (taken
by photographer Ielyj Ivgy who assists her), some of her research and
experiences in Suriname. Those who are curious and want to have a taste will
also have the opportunity to do so. Gallery doors open at 7:00 pm and the
presentation of Masha Ru starts at 7:30 pm.
Team Readytex Art Gallery