THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET AT EMST
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION & PARALLEL ACTIVITIES, 14 SEPTEMBER - 29 OCTOBER
On the 14th September 2023, from 19:00 to 22:00, the opening of the Foodprint photography exhibition will take place at The National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens- EMST in the Museum's mezzanine floor, in collaboration with the Education Department.
The project explores why the Mediterranean Diet is relevant to our lives today and connects Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Cyprus and Croatia through the works of five photographers. Recognised by UNESCO as part of humanity’s Intangible Heritage due to its unique set of qualities, the Mediterranean Diet consists mostly of plant based foods, such as vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes and fruits. Born out of poverty, it also provides solutions to some of the most critical problems facing the planet today, such as the loss of biodiversity, food waste and climate change.
Photographs by Johann Clausen, Elena Heatherwick, Myrto Papadopoulou, Chris de Bode and Maria Contreras Coll capture different aspects of the Mediterranean Diet today, while parallel activities include photography workshops, documentary screenings and cooking events. The exhibition at EMST is part of a European tour that so far includes Italy, Cyprus, Turkey, Croatia and Albania.
The exhibition is accompanied by the documentary 'The Perfect Meal,' directed by Alexandros Merkouris, which reveals why the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world. The film not only highlights its role in protecting against obesity, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and brain aging but also showcases its potential as a tool to tackle climate change
Foodprint is a produced by Anemon in co-organization with the Goethe Institute, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Museums of Brescia, Italy, the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation and the Museum of Cypriot Food and Nutrition, in collaboration with the National Museum of Contemporary Art EMST and the Directorate of Modern Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture. It is under the auspices of the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO and was created with the support of the EU's Creative Europe programme
Five award-winning photographers traveled in Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and Croatia, capturing dramatically contrasting images from isolated fishing villages to mountainous hamlets and modern culinary schools, while exploring diverse themes such as sustainability, identity, family, community, cooking, farming, health and creativity.
Their images seek to inspire change and encourage us to connect with the region’s past, which although marked by poverty and hunger, created the world’s healthiest and most sustainable diets.
London-based photographer Elena Heatherwick travelled to the island of Crete to explore the themes of family and culinary heritage. Elena spent time with a family running a small tavern in a remote mountainous region. Three generations participate in the production of food products, such as cheese and vegetables, whilst also collecting seasonal wild plants from the mountains.
German photographer Johann Clausen visited Croatia, to capture the landscape on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and visually explore one of the most essential ingredients of cooking and food preservation: salt. In Cyprus, Johann shot in a futuristic freight-farm where vegetables are cultivated protected by the island’s extreme summer temperatures while in parallel, he created a series of portraits of fruits growing in an abandoned grove, revealing their beauty in a timeless and iconic way.
In Morocco, Greek photographer Myrto Papadopoulos photographed a community in the remote and mountainous area of Taounate. Relying on a seasonal, plant-based diet -as meat is too expensive to obtain- they have an intimate relationship with their environment, embracing what is offered by their land.
Dutch photographer Chris de Bode, travelled to Spain, to focus on the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, by photographing a team of scientists at the University of Navarra who carry out one of the world’s leading studies on the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet called PREDIMED+. In Italy, Chris explored the themes of gastronomy, creativity and innovation, through a series of portraits of culinary students in the city of Brescia.
Barcelona-based photographer Maria Contreras Coll visited the Portuguese island of Culatra to capture how the local community of shellfish pickers is affected by pollution, rising temperatures and overfishing and ultimately how their way of life both affects and is affected by the health of the sea.
We all know that the Mediterranean Diet is beneficial to our health. But how exactly do its specific ingredients affect different parts of our body? And how can a centuries-old tradition based on austerity and seasonality provide solutions to some of the most important problems of the modern world?
"The Perfect Meal", directed by Alexandros Merkouri, takes us on a journey from Greece and Cyprus to Italy, Spain, France, England, Sweden and the USA, to reveal the secrets of the Mediterranean Diet. The main characters in the film have dedicated their lives to understanding it and suggest "the perfect meal" for our health and the health of the planet.
The documentary features, among others, Nikolaos Skarmeas (Columbia University), Antonia Trichopoulou (Hellenic Health Foundation), Walter Willett (Harvard University), Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez (University of Navarra), Cecilia Samieri and Mathilde Touvier (INSERM) and award-winning chefs Marianna Livaditaki and Xavier Pellicer. Scientific advisor is Mary Giannakoulia (Harokopeio University).
Perfect Meal is a co-production between Greece, France, Spain and Korea, produced by Anemon Productions, Yuzu Productions, Abacus and Bassim Pictures. It was co-produced by ARTE, Cosmote TV, ERT, RTVE and RTS with the support of Creative Europe, EKOME, CNC, KOCCA and Atsas, distributed by First Hand Films.