By Bruce Rutledge
The North American Post
Hiroshima native Eiko Nishida has long been inspired by the human hand. Flip through her Instagram account (@eiko_cooltiger), and you’ll see plenty of hands in photos and paintings, touching, grasping, seeking out something tactile.
◀︎ Eiko poses by her artwork project. She started it in 2008 while living in Tokyo. “It’s a life-long project,” she says.
Since 2008, Eiko has been pairing those hands with finger food from around the world in a project she calls Finger Food Art. Each piece visualizes finger food in a colorful poster-like look with descriptions in the food’s native language. To date, she has created 32 treats from 32 countries or regions. More are on the way.
Nishida interviews people about their favorite finger food. She says her interview subjects often get nostalgic when talking about it. She then takes pictures of their hands pretending to grasp their favorite native treat. Back in her studio, she draws iluustrations of them holding the food, using color palettes that reflect each nation’s flag. Each work also has a recipe written in the subject’s first language.
◀︎ Eiko’s Finger Food cards come as single cards or a complete pack of 32.
In each piece, Eiko brings together food and language — two crucial components in any culture.
“Food is a crucial cultural element for each of us, as is language,” she said. “It’s part of our identity.”
I hosted a pop-up shop by Eiko in my Chin Music Press store in Pike Place Market over the Labor Day weekend. It was fun to watch people gravitate toward their favorite finger food and talk about it with Eiko. The display is still up in my store if anyone is curious about it.
Eiko plans to attend the Seattle Art Book Fair at Washington Hall on May 11-12. Come by and share your favorite finger food with her.
▲Visitors check out the display in the Chin Music Press store. The pop-up shop produced a lot of smiles and cvonversation.
▶︎The display of Finger Food Art at Chin Music Press. It iwill be on display through Valentine’s Day week. Photos by Eiko Nishida