Rajyashri Goody

Eat With Great Delight

Rajyashri Goody Eat With Great Delight
Namdeo Nimgade Do you dream of food, air, and water
Rajyashri Goody examines the link between food and caste, the stomach and oppression. The work comprises photographs taken primarily by her parents between the 1980s and early 2000s, on point-and-shoot cameras, accompanied by recipes Goody adapted from Dalit literature. The images capture their family members and friends, on special occasions and in moments of daily joy—around food and the kitchen.
Writing and photography are bound with power. Access to these essential tools for documentation was often denied to those at the bottom of the caste pyramid—Hinduism’s discriminatory and violent social order, which places Dalit people at the lowest level. For Goody, Dalit autobiographies were essential texts, which helped her better understand her own heritage, especially as more people from her community accessed cameras and contributed to a growing archive of Dalit life.
Coming from a family of social workers, Goody keenly understood the importance of images documenting the oppressive caste system and the deplorable conditions it forced on Dalit people. However, her research into Dalit food culture and literacy also revealed the lack of “positive” public imagery associated with the community. Bearing in mind the significant and humanising effect of such depictions, she turned to her family archive.
The photographs and recipes are accompanied by ceramics resembling elements of specific food items. Making these objects is an extension of Goody’s caste and food research, as she uses sculpting processes to contemplate and think through these heavy, often hard-to-digest histories, in a more intimate and personal manner.
The title is borrowed from the Dalit writer Omprakash Valmiki’s autobiography, Joothan. In the book, Valmiki embodies seemingly contradictory emotions of shame, hunger, satiation, and celebration surrounding the Dalit experience—in this case, in relation to the practice of ‘joothan’, the gathering of left-overs from upper-caste wedding feasts.
Rajyashri Goody

Rajyashri Goody (b.1990, Pune, India) is currently an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. Goody’s art practice is informed by her academic background and her Ambedkarite roots. Through writing, ceramics, photography, and sculpture, she attempts to decode and make visible, instances of everyday power and resistance within Dalit communities in India.

Website: www.rajyashrigoody.com

Rajyashri Goody Eat With Great Delight
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