ચાલો જમીએ (Lets’s Eat), Local Gujarati food, dimensions variable, 2017
In the faculty of Fine Arts at The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda,the student canteen was dysfunctional from December 2016 to April 2017. The canteen as a communal space for teachers and students to interact in an informal setting. This was the center of potency of the space. By Inviting members from the migrating farming community who work as construction workers in Vadodara city to come to and prepare their local cuisine in the premises faculty of fine arts canteen ,I saw a possibility of building up conversations between the students, teachers and the people from the community about agrarian crisis that has made these community migrate to Vadodara City.
'ચાલો જમીએ' [Lets Eat] project was a result of multiple conversations between me and Raila Bhai, Kishor Bhai, Jagruti Devi, Kailash ben and Gobardhan Bhai . An informal canteen was set up by the group in the canteen area for a day on 15th of April 2017. [Raila Bhai, Kishor Bhai, Kailash Ben, Sheela Devi and Govardhan Bhai are from the community, and who agreed to the idea and collaborated with me as Chefs. The work was only possible after a year long community engagement through drawing and conversations.]
In 'ચાલો જમીએ' [Lets Eat] project the students and the teachers were served Makkai ka Rotla (bread made out of corn flour) , Urad ni Dal (arhar pulses), Bhat (Rice), Gawar nu Shag (vegetable curry) and Khatti Chas (sour butter milk ) for 40rs (51 cents) per plate. Khatti Chas (sour butter milk) was also sold separately for 10rs (13 cents) per cup. The utensils used for the project were all made at Kumbharwada of Vadodara(a traditional potters community). The served food were vernicualr to the migrating farming communities of Gujarat.
During the project the canteen space became a gathering for students and professors to discuss about the possible solution for the problems of migrating farming communities of Vadodara city with the members of the community. Almost 170 plates of food were served along with 40 separate Khatti Chas (sour butter milk).. A profit of 4500rs (57 euro approx.)was made by selling the food.The entire profit went to Raila Bhai, Kishor Bhai, Kailash Ben, Sheela Devi and Govardhan Bhai . The project was majorly supported by Mainak Mitra, Narendran Nair, Adhika Ferdinand, Oshin Thakkar, Sharvari Deshpande, Sabyasachi Bhattacharjee, Iisha Itawala and Students ,professors of Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S.University of Baroda and Arun Kaka.