Wheat is an important staple crop, it provides 20% of all calories consumed by people world-wide. Well, after seeing Kenya Hara’s project on our ‘Staples’, I found myself with a lot of questions about food and common diets around the world.
He has examined what we eat and created a graphic display about the most common staple foods around the world. Kenya Hara argues that the roots of our cultural identities, lie within the grains that we consume daily. Take Japan for example, a grain of rice is one of the building blocks of Japanese culture. Not only is rice the main dietary staple in Japanese food, its cultivation has shaped the landscape whilst its stem and leaves are used to produce rice straw and paper that have been used in craft for thousands of years.
‘Staples’ makes the viewer consider the relationship between food and design. From a raw material to a packaged product. Kenya Hara drew all the images by hand, and polished them up digitally, yet they look like photographs – only encouraging viewers to take a closer look…
For me this project actually made me think about how our diet is so controlled. If there are 50,000 edible plant species, why is the majority of humanity built around just a few grains?
In Hara’s piece, I saw only the idea of what he was exploring, supported by visual aids that made it feel real. This project can be found in the Design Museum in London, in the Fear & Love exhibition. It made me look at the bigger picture of the good and bad that lives within our world.