The smell of mornings in many Filipino households is characterized by the food being prepared in every kitchen. It connects us to a distinct but abstract sense of self. Gabby Prado’s third solo exhibition surveys the connection of food in our relationships and how it is tied to our identities as we participate in the ritual of breakfast.
In working on this exhibition, Prado remembers how every morning unfolds: her family seated together on the dining table, and the olfactory senses work their way and produce images that take their rounds in her mind. The artist believes that breakfast signifies something more than fulfilling dietary requirements; it is a specific custom defined by the time of the day and how it is done across cultures. The transformation of food in every region is tied with its history and communal narratives. For instance, the breakfast meal Tapsilog might as well capture the aftermath of colonization and our connection to the Chinese, Spanish, and American empires in one plate: fried rice, seared meat, and eggs. While examining these associations in our food is essential in understanding our history as a nation, Prado’s “Breakfast” sheds light on the idea of how such a ritual becomes part of herself.
What happens every morning is a representation of the artist’s experiences and understandings. Prado relates the chewy consistency of meat (tapa, longganisa) to her resiliency; trying to be independent even with a hearing disability. The taste of Atchara, a pickled preserve made out of grated unripe papaya, reminds her of memories that have gone sour. Garlic rice, a staple for the artist, is like a testament to her achievements: every moment of hard work tossed together to create something whole and unforgettable. However, the dominance of eggs fulfills how the artist sees herself. In this exhibition, ceramic sculptures in its shape are presented. The egg’s structure with its inner and outer bearings proclaim the cycle of fragility and strength of working as a female artist with synesthesia (specifically called Chromesthesia, which translates auditory data into images; another form, lexical-gustatory synesthesia is described to cause an individual to smell or taste a written or spoken word). Through the combination of both abstract expressionist paintings and ceramic sculptures, Prado attempts her artistic language to pass and convey what takes place in a morning meal. “Breakfast” signals the beginning and the prelude to our waking and working life.
curated by Gwen Bautista