Graphic Design

Rice Utensils, 2021. Poster. 24 × 18 in.
Stage, 2021. Photography. Dimensions variable.

“You are what you eat.”

This adage originated from French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin whose quote translated to, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.”

Food can define culture and shape an individual’s identity. The acts of preparing, serving, sharing, and consuming food all vary between countries depending on geographical, cultural, political, and religious factors. Although the simple act of eating food may be considered a means of survival and a source of energy, food also brings people together. Dining tables are often called family tables, as the act of eating and the conversations we have around the table hold not only our family stories but also our culture.

Growing up as a Korean-American, rice was a staple dish that has always been on my dining table. Therefore, a bowl of rice was a type of food that identified my culture, who I am, and where I come from. The interactions and conversations that I had with my family while eating at the dining table ultimately became my culture and built my identity.

In my thesis, I use rice directly and indirectly to introduce, communicate, and educate people about different types of rice, as well as cultural practices surrounding food consumption and how they interweave to symbolize a culture. I provide a space for audiences to experience and interact with rice beyond consuming it as a food—it is a means to express unique stories.