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Chewing

Just Close Your Eyes And Imagine I Havent Evolved 2017

Just close your eyes and imagine I haven't evolved, 2017.

Dummy Stoneware 2017

Dummy, stoneware, 2017.

Chewing

My mum used to give me dried small sardines for making soup stock and carrots for snacks. When she was a child she was fed lots of soft things and sweets and her jaw didn’t grow to accommodate enough space for her teeth, so her dentist advised her to feed me with hard things to chew to help my jaw develop. Sometimes she would give me plum wine pretending it was plum juice, when she was fed up with me not going to bed for ages. 

I remember I saw my granny being really mean to my mum about not offering her a banana before they got brown spots and went off. Maybe it was something to do with bananas being a symbol of luxury after the war, but she was very unreasonable and angry. It was my dad’s mother. She used to come and stay with us for half the year, and my dad wanted to remain neutral so when her and my mum had conflicts I felt my mum was very alone in it. It was at similar time when I heard about the end of the world. Other children at school said it would happen in 1999. I then thought what’s the point in going through school education, if everyone dies in 1999 – I will die when I am 19. I decided not to go to school anymore, and to spend the rest of my life with my family. I also thought my mum really needed to be protected, I thought she was very fragile and if I got affected by the horrible secret that we will all die in 11 years time I couldn’t see how she would cope with that knowledge. My mission was to protect my mum from the end of the world and from my granny being horrible about bananas, and so I always went to the school nurse every afternoon, then came home early before I completely stopped going to school.  

At home I spent lots of time reading stories while eating snacks. I ate crunchy deep fried eel bones. Sort of very sour Satsumas – you separate the skins and eat them slowly. My favorite was dried squid, we usually had whole dried ones in the cupboard – I would cut some and grill it under the fire, then I chewed on it bit by bit while turning pages. More I chewed the tastier it became. One of my favorite stories was this French book, with lots of short stories told by father to son, it had a story about a crocodile and an octopus. The crocodile was old and becoming senile, he eats his granddaughter. The family decided to expel him so he goes into the red sea, where he meets an octopus and falls in love with her. But at night he couldn’t fight his nature and the food she brought him was not enough for his appetite – plus she couldn’t count to more than 2 – so he eats her legs one by one, whilst she sleeps until she loses all her legs. In the morning he comes to his senses and feels terrible about what he’s done to her.  So he tries to gather food for them both, but one night he is so hungry that he eats her completely. He is beside himself with guilt and grief. He was deeply in love with her. He drifts up onto the shore and the locals think he is a mythical creature. He becomes a kind of god and gets fed a very young girl of around 13 years old once a week. It was sort of a happy ending. I loved the story, and I always think about it whenever I eat octopus balls.  

Chateaux Double Wide Glasgow International Festival 2016

Chateaux Double Wide, Glasgow International Festival, 2016.

Christmas Toddlers And Tiaras Beauty Pageant With Paul Kindersley 2012

Christmas toddlers and tiaras beauty pageant (with Paul Kindersley), 2012.

All images courtesy of the artist.

Urara Tsuchiya

Urara Tsuchiya lives and works in Glasgow. Tsuchiya mainly works with performance, ceramics, costumes often incorporating soft sculpture and home cooking. These function as props to set up an alternate environment for our ordinary behaviours to take place. She is currently working towards GI festival and solo presentation with Union Pacific at liste in June.