GREATNESS: ERIC MAY FOR SYNTAX SEASON
NOVEMBER 12 - DECEMBER 4, 2016
652 E 52nd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 12, 3-5 pm
by Eric May
The notion of greatness in America has been hijacked for an empty campaign slogan in the 2016 election cycle. For me, one of our greatest strengths as a country is our openness to folks from beyond our borders. Though portrayed by a certain presidential candidate as criminals, rapists, and terrorists, an overwhelming majority of immigrants seek the same opportunities that were afforded to other generations of once-outsiders—a chance to make a decent wage or run their own business; raise their children in a safe neighborhood with good schools. And in turn, what makes us even greater is the awesome blend and variety of cultures that has come to be the face of contemporary America.
As a food writer and chef, I believe that a good way to find understanding and appreciation for other cultures is by exploring their culinary traditions. And from big cities to not-as-big cities to small farming communities, the tastes of America are expanding. By seeking out different foods, we can connect with neighbors and folks living on roads-less-traveled (to us) alike. This is a simple step, but it could help us find some cultural unity and healing that, frankly, we need in light of the turmoil of this current political climate.
I am fortunate to have a network of like-minded foodies with a strong base in Indianapolis. These friends have introduced me to Asian Snack, Bombay Bazaar, and Jamaican Jerk: three remarkable eateries run by immigrants, new and not-so-new to the city, serving mind-expanding-ly delicious food to their communities with true hospitality towards newcomers.
For the Greatness project, I asked the owners of these businesses—Wen Hua, Ejaz Abidi, and Kahni Harris—what they thought was great about America, and their answers will be publically visible in the storefront windows of PRINTtEXT. I encourage all to go sample a plate of Gelashen-style chicken, Biryani, or Jerk ribs at their respective businesses, and taste the Greatness of the cultural mosaic that is America.
Eric May is a Chicago-based artist, chef, and writer. In his work he frames conversations about food through cooking, writing, and hosting participatory events and public interventions. Eric is the founder and director of Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Center in Chicago's Noble Square neighborhood. He cooked at Ox-Bow School of Art and Artist’s Residency in Saugatuck, MI for 15 years. Eric received his MFA from Northwestern University. He has exhibited work and hosted events at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Hyde Park Art Center, DePaul Art Museum, Three Walls, and The Charlotte Street Foundation, Kansas City. www.ericchristophmay.com