Feasting on art

Art cafés cater to this very concept. There’s art on the walls and food on the table — a perfect combination indeed.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

KOCHI: The legion of food has finally invaded Planet Earth, conquering and subjugating the human species since the dawn of the 21st century. We were a race that ate just enough to live. Not anymore. Today, food seduces us from every corner. Take a look at our social media feeds.

There’s food everywhere. Even the most shabby, run-down eateries that wouldn’t tempt us even on the hungriest of days, are added to our go-to bucket list for the weekend, thanks to a random video of the same that we stumbled upon in the midst of our online browsing.

With so much food running amok, wouldn’t it be wonderful if a wee bit of art could be added as a garnish? Wouldn’t it be an enriching experience to feed your mind along with your stomach? Art cafés cater to this very concept. There’s art on the walls and food on the table — a perfect combination indeed.

The café culture owes its origins to the Europeans. The first known cafés came up in Venice from 1629 onwards, but it wasn’t that easy at first. Coffee was thought to be Satan’s brew and was accepted by the Western world only after the Pope baptised this unnecessary blemish in 1600.

Along with this acceptance of the drink that today wakes up the world, the frills and fancies were soon added, to sell it to the masses. And so, cafes slowly gained in popularity and provided a much better environment for conversations than any bar could ever offer. Artists, writers, and philosophers started flocking to debate their views on life and love. Over the years, art cafés have turned into unconventional galleries, where interesting conversations and sumptuous food waltzed together with art.

India too boasts of many such unique cafés where art and delicious food blend to uplift one’s senses. Some of them host art exhibitions on a regular basis. The Kashi Art Cafe in Fort Kochi, established in 1997, has a section that serves as an art gallery where local artists as well as those from other cities, hold shows. On most occasions, the artists are also present and open to interactions with the customers.

Besides conducting shows, there are cafés that provide a space for indulging in painting while sipping your coffee or devouring that roll. The Palette Cafe in Delhi provides canvases and colours for its customers to sketch while they chew their food. Then there is the Project Cafe in

Ahmedabad where everything from the chairs to the cutlery is a work of art. The place has been open to all artists across the spectrum since its inception and their creations fill up the cafe. So, while you can dine on the premises, you can also appreciate or buy these creations, including the furniture or the crockery!

Coffee is an emotion they say. Art too, is an expression of emotions. While we rush to patronise restaurants that offer all sorts of unimaginable dishes that defy logic, let us also hope to see more of these intellectually and creatively stimulating art cafés in our neighbourhoods!

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The New Indian Express