An American Feast, Gigi Salij

FoodCon is a joyful celebration of eating! It is a Harrison Center tradition that honors the foods that sustain us, make us healthy and bring us together at mealtime. It features fun activities and local sources of great things to eat, and of course exciting artwork that relates to this theme. I hope you’ll make time to enjoy the delightful, food-inspired work of Gigi Salij that will be shown in the Gallery Annex this month. I can’t even think about these pieces without smiling!

Gigi Salij - Lime Jell-O (2019).JPG

The show is called,”An American Feast” and is a collection of beautifully crafted silk screen prints, created in 2018 and 2019, that pay homage to the Age of Industrialized Foods. The irony of pairing this exhibit with an event that encourages our current cultural search for clean, organic, responsibly prepared foods is part of why I enjoy this work so much. As someone who was raised on this kind of food, I understand that, as Gigi points out, even though they were made in a factory and not by a cook or a chef, they still evoke strong feelings of affection and nostalgia. The bright, clean colors and graphic elements in these pieces make me feel happy, which is also how I felt when I ate these foods as a child. Today I feel guilty if I eat this food, and even angry at the manufacturer, but at my core I can’t help but to respond positively because they were such a fun part of my eating history. This is a collection of Pop Art prints, but they are also works of fine art that create an emotional response.

Gigi Salij - Hostess Cupcakes (detail) (2019).jpg

Gigi writes, “To my eye, these foods are really beautiful forms, beautiful colors, and above all, very evocative. And they’re glamorous! Gorgeously packaged and advertised on television, to this child of immigrants growing up in Fort Wayne, they were exciting!”  

Primarily a collage artist, Gigi has begun working in silk screen in just the past few years. She divides her time between California, New York and Indiana, and when she is here she works at Cat Head Press creating her beautiful prints. Please be sure to visit the Gallery Annex on First Friday to see these. They will hang through the end of August.

Lorie Lee Andrews