Mothers and children from the Portman Early Childhood Centre have been working with artist Jasleen Kaur, using the micro-politics of cooking and eating together to collectively consider and respond to issues facing the local community.
The project revisited the Portman’s community lunches of 2008, no longer in existence due to cuts in funding, where parents took it in turns to cook a meal and eat together. Since January 2018, adults and children have been cooking and eating bread together, learning a culturally significant recipe from a different group member each week.
Through the project, the group asked: What are our concerns and how do we remedy? How do we hold onto and pass down culture? How do we care and how are we cared for?
Changing Play is an ongoing partnership with the Portman Early Childhood Centre in Westminster, which brings together artists, children, families and educators to critically reconsider early years education and care.
Jasleen Kaur (b.1986, Glasgow) is an artist currently living and working in London. Her work is an ongoing exploration into the malleability of culture and the layering of social histories within the material and immaterial things that surround us. Her practice examines the hierarchy of histories and labour using a range of mediums and methods including sculpture, video, conversation and cooking.
Kaur employs the cobbled together as an artistic approach, another way to understand the already made. Her refashioned objects are based on instinct and resourcefulness, reflecting a hybridity of national custom and reconsidering the realities of materiality, usage and everyday routine. Creating associations between past and present, high and low culture, mass produced and singular, she flattens hierarchies and acknowledges the less visible. A practice centring on tending her relationships with people and her understanding of materials, makes the processes employed as important as the outcomes.
Recent commissions include the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow Women’s Library, Eastside Projects and Hollybush Gardens. Her work is part of the permanent collection of the Royal College of Art and Crafts Council.
The Portman Early Childhood Centre
The Portman Early Childhood Centre provides education, care and family support services for young children and their families living in the Church Street area of Westminster, North London. These include a nursery school, adult education classes, family support, employment services, parenting groups and workshops.