Food for Thought  - Juror's Essay

2015 may be remembered as the Year of Food.  EXPO2015 in my native Milan is dedicated to “Feeding the Planet, Energy  for Life.” The expo  will look at human history through two aspects of food production: traditional cultural values and the use of new technologies. The main purpose of this exposition is to stimulate major debate on nutrition and food, comparing all aspects of this theme.

I was therefore very pleased to be asked to be the juror for SAQA’s Food for Thought exhibition, which will also premiere in 2015. This exhibition allowed artists to explore any aspects of food that they found inspirational, from a single piece of fruit to a still life to the family table to the significance of food in culture and the celebration of family milestones and religious holidays. Artists portrayed how and where food is grown and harvested; how it is sold or distributed, prepared or consumed; where it is abundant and where it is scarce.

Having been asked to be the juror of this exhibition, I was at first very honored and then felt a little scared. My concern  was that I would have to select the artworks solely by viewing photos online, but when I received access to the online image gallery, any doubts I had dissipated. Wonderful photos and close-ups that revealed details were provided, making it easier to tune in to the art. Every entry was accompanied by an artist’s statement which was very helpful in understanding the artist’s point of view, personality and inspiration. The names of the artists were not revealed to me.

I had been asked to select thirty to thirty-five artworks. My task took me three weeks in order to give myself time to properly view each work. Initially I looked carefully at each piece, then I started to generate a primary ranking based on color, design and content. Subsequently, I started a daily overhaul of the works, sometimes in the morning, sometimes during the day, and sometimes even in the evening in order to review them under different moods. This step generated a continuous updating of my ranking of favorites, as every day I would  see aspects of some of the works that I had not noticed previously. All of the works submitted were, in fact, beautiful works of art and it was a pleasure to have been asked to take part in this worthwhile event.

—Alex Veronelli

Alex Veronelli is 100% born and bred in Italy. Product Manager and a shareholder of Aurifil, he develops threads for the quilting and sewing markets. His family comes from the textile industry on both sides for several generations, and his father helped found Aurifil in 1983. Alex serves on the board of The Quilt Alliance and is on the Advisory Board of International Quilt Study Center & Museum. Alex observes that his CV is really short: “Just Aurifil, but I am proud to have been able to build on and expand my family traditions in business.”