The Golden Lady Finger presents a menagerie of meticulously crafted objects by Jacquelyn Greenbank.
Here Greenbank assembles a collection of one-liners that playfully explore food as an expression of cultural identity. The work brings together highly recognisable symbols such as chopsticks, rendered larger than life, alongside neon signage and decorations reminiscent of restaurant interiors to consider the way migrant identities are presented and experienced through stereotypes related to food.
Greenbank riffs on representations of culture in media and the built environment, questioning and exploring these identifiers from her position as an artist of Chinese, Māori and Pākehā descent. Food and knowledge of plants are recurrent themes within her practice, used to interrogate experiences of assimilation and alienation tied to cuisine and its customs.
Food expresses and preserves cultural identities and creates occasion for connection between people. In The Golden Lady Finger, the scene is set by Greenbank with a tiled plinth referencing a kitchen bench. Poodles cast in bronze are replicated as broccoli stalks and personified banana skins perch expectantly. Intricately formed and enticingly uncanny, Greenbank’s objects provide an opportunity to contemplate the way our own identities develop in relation to rituals of food production and consumption.
Jacquelyn Greenbank is an Ōtautahi-based artist working in sculpture and installation. Since graduating from Ilam School of Fine Arts at Canterbury University with a Distinction in Painting, Greenbank has exhibited in galleries and biennials in Aotearoa and internationally. Recent exhibitions include Starfruit and Starfruit Fruiterer in SCAPE Public Art Season 2020 and Pork Chop Express at the Ashburton Art Gallery, exhibited 19 March – 24 April 2022. Greenbank’s work is held in major public and private collections. She won the Zonta Ashburton Female Art Award (2021), was recipient of the Olivia Spencer Bower Foundation Art Award (2015), and was a finalist in the Portage Ceramic Awards (2017, 2018).