Tohu Podcast: A conversation with Rafram Chaddad

David Duvshani talks with Rafram Chaddad, artist and connoisseur of cooking traditions of the Mediterranean, who lives in Tunisia. They discuss art and food, wandering, traditions and their preservation, artworks created by Chaddad in recent years, and the contemporary art scene in Tunisia.

 

Rafram Chaddad, artist and connoisseur of cooking traditions of the Mediterranean Jewish communities. His artistic practice is a continuing dialog with the culinary and political history of the Mediterranean through sculpture, video, books, and artworks that employ participation and collaboration. Chaddad addresses historical narratives in a manner that challenges the current borders of states and nations while focusing on food and cooking as essential components in the creation of national identity.

Beyond his art-making, Chaddad defines himself as a conserver of traditions. He documents recipes and shares his studies of Jewish food through talks, books, and papers. In his art and writings, he casts a critical gaze upon a wide range of topics: the erasure of the culinary history of Jewish communities of North Africa and eastern Europe by the Israeli state, the appropriation of the local-Palestinian cuisine as an Israeli national propaganda tool, as well as the profound changes the food industry and the status of the chef in contemporary society are undergoing.

Born on the island of Djerba in 1976, Rafram Chaddad grew up in Jerusalem after his family emigrated there when he was still a child. In 2010, during a trip to document synagogues in Libya, he was arrested and spent five months in the Libyan jail. After a few years of wandering, he returned in 2015 to Tunisia, where he still lives today.




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The Fish Smuggler, 2018, 30x20 cm, series of 5, print on film, Mucem Marseille
The Fish Smuggler, 2018, 30x20 cm, series of 5, print on film, Mucem Marseille

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Fish In Fish Out, 2011-2020, approx. 80x20 cm, mural on stone, around 120 various locations
Fish In Fish Out, 2011-2020, approx. 80x20 cm, mural on stone, around 120 various locations

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Bab ma7ruk, 2015, 122X69 cm, wooden box with 11,000 blue safety matches, with a video work, KIT Dusseldorf,
Bab ma7ruk, 2015, 122X69 cm, wooden box with 11,000 blue safety matches, with a video work, KIT Dusseldorf,

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Black couscous, 2013, 25-meter radius of barley field, performance, installation
Black couscous, 2013, 25-meter radius of barley field, performance, installation