Food is celebration for the soul as much as celebration is food for the soul. If an Indian childhood is anything to go by, there is never enough space in one's head to contain the cornucopia of memories filled with sweet and savoury paraphernalia relished. Original context notwithstanding, these treats unwittingly acquire new meanings over time.
The Tradition of Golu
One could call Golu a niche tradition, much like a sub-festival within the festival of Navratri specifically observed in Southern India, where women set up an odd-numbered stairwell covered in fabric and beautifully adorned with traditional clay toys in their homes. In its most traditional form, these toys are collected over the years, as ancestral heirlooms and handed down to the generations. Deities fill the top rows, court life and royal ceremonies come next, and finally, everyday scenes from the villages line the bottom rows. This display over Navratri culminates in a social evening of the ladies and their little girls visiting one home after another to admire each other’s Golu. And be treated with a smattering of the aforementioned delicious knick knacks.
With Pedestalled Memory, the food of the time is now the celebrated– the memory of the dolls and traditional prasadam (food made for ritual) merge into a singular shrine-like dream of the celebration, while no two Golu's are ever the same. The traditional melds with the contemporary, the improvised, and the personal into a playful nostalgia of the modest Indian middle-class crafter.
Read more about the festival and the project process on the journal.