International Small Islands Studies Association




Fogo Island Arts launches artist project focussed on food culture and sustainability

Laurie Brinklow

Fogo Island Arts launches artist project focussed on food culture and sustainability

July 18, 2018 (Fogo Island) – Fogo Island Arts, in collaboration with Shorefast and the community of Fogo Island, is pleased to present Open Restaurant on Fogo Island, a project by artist Steffen Jagenburg involving local growers and producers, and knowledge inherent to place. First initiated by Jagenburg in Berlin in 2012, Open Restaurant is an ongoing project that brings people together around ideas of local and organic food. For the Fogo Island edition, Jagenburg will cook and host two suppers a week for invited guests during the month of August. Each meal will be sourced from local ingredients and shaped by food knowledge specific to the island’s communities and inhabitants.

Fogo Island’s food culture has been shaped by centuries of self-reliance and resourcefulness, weather and seasonal change, and increasingly, by international trade and the global economy. From subsistence-based growing and managing of available resources to the effects of industrialized production and subsequent loss of local food knowledge, a whole history of Western food culture can be read through Fogo Island. 

“Food serves as a metaphor for our overall contemporary condition as a society, one that is over-industrialized and over-consuming, and has lost its connection to the natural world. Rediscovering this connection is a process of restoring, of returning our ways of being to an ideal state through which we can live in a sustainable way,” said Jagenburg.

If food culture on Fogo Island began as a question of meeting basic survival needs, now, after the influence of decades of industrialized food, there are opportunities to rediscover local techniques and resources that may have been overlooked previously. With a deep respect for traditional ways, Open Restaurant on Fogo Island embraces local production in accordance with the seasons, and the possibilities of moving beyond subsistence practices towards experimentation and invention. From the French word ‘restaurer,’ meaning to ‘restore,’ Open Restaurant celebrates the sustaining properties of sharing food and diverse perspectives around a dinner table.

Steffen Jagenburg was born and raised in Cologne. Inspired by the art scene in the city from an early age, his photographic practice developed from his will to speak with and understand other creative,
like-minded people. Self-taught, he uses photography as a means to get closer to people and share ideas, while executing his own conceptual framework and rules. In applying these capacities, he has been able to continually reinvent his work, from personal to contextual and corporate communication projects. He has photographed material for a number of institutions around the world such as the Heinrich B.ll Foundation, Berlin; Shorefast, Fogo Island; Kunsthalle Wien; Volksbühne, Berlin; and Witte de With, Rotterdam; among others. Jagenburg has been working on a larger artistic project over the past two years entitled Boys in the Trees, exploring the exchange between humans and nature. Jagenburg lives in the countryside just outside of Berlin.

Jagenburg will also participate in Fogo Island’s first ever community Food Circle, a conversation about the past, present, and future of food with Mitchell Davis, Executive Vice President of the James Beard Foundation; Bonnie Stern, one of Canada’s foremost cookbook authors; and Fogo Island Inn Executive Chef Jonathan Gushue on July 31. The event is hosted by Fogo Island Inn Innkeeper Zita Cobb and is free and open to the public.

Fogo Island Arts is a residency-based contemporary art venue that supports research and production of new work for artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians, curators, designers and thinkers from around the world. Since 2008, FIA has brought some of the most exciting, emerging and renowned artists of today to Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada to take part in residencies and to present solo exhibitions at the Fogo Island Gallery. FIA also presents programs in cities across Canada and abroad, including the Fogo Island Dialogues interdisciplinary conversation series, as part of its international outreach. Combining contemporary art, iconic architecture and social innovation in a singular setting, FIA is a world-class institution that is uniquely rooted in community. FIA is an initiative of Shorefast, a registered Canadian charity with the mission to build economic and cultural resilience on Fogo Island.

FIA Advisory Board members include Zita Cobb, Eleanor Dawson, Paul Dean, Fabrizio Gallanti, Elisa Nuyten, Silke Otto-Knapp, Willem de Rooij, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Kitty Scott and Monika Szewczyk. 

Media Information:
Alexandra McIntosh
Director of Programs and Exhibitions, Fogo Island Arts
alexandramcintosh[at]    +1 709-266-1248, ext. 4

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