Culinary Imagine – Nation, exhibition in Leuven 3 March – 3 April 2023

Culinary Imagine – Nation, exhibition in Leuven 3 March – 3 April 2023

images in this post from exhibition’s promotional materials, heritage photograph therein by TopFoto, Credit: John Topham/ TopFoto. 1951.

The exhibition “Culinary Imagine – Nation” explores the building of a French gastronomic identity through the lens of images and material culture spanning from the end of the 19th century to today. Focusing on four inter-related themes, savoir-faire, terroir, patrimoine culinaire, and francité, this exhibition examines aspects of nation-building rooted in food products and practices.


The exhibition is on display at KU Leuven University Library for a month, opening on 3 March 2023.
From showcasing the economic and cultural role of local products, to highlighting the significance of ‘intangible’ concepts such as savoir-faire, to tracing the influence of politics and policies in shaping global trends in culinary heritage, in this exhibition we question the construction of heritage, the relativity of history, and the concept of authenticity with an eye towards uprooting national narratives and looking towards hybridity.

Among the reproductions, we are pleased to include exceptional works such as the photographs of Harold Chapman, Janine Niepce, Jean Roubier, and Jacques Boyer (to name a few), alongside collections from the National Library of France (BnF).

We offer sincere gratitude to TopFoto UK, Photoconsortium, CAG, Roger Viollet of Paris, and the project CitizenHeritage for their support; and finally to the KU Leuven University Library for hosting this event.

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Photoconsortium, International Consortium for Photographic Heritage

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