Feeding history
the politics of food

28 February – 27 May 2019

Free

Room 3

 

 

Recommend this exhibition

Wooden model group of a butcher’s shop, Deir el-Bersha, Egypt, Middle Kingdom period.

‘Spanning thousands of years, this Asahi Shimbun Display takes a closer look at five objects that explore the relationship between food, power and control. They range from an ancient Egyptian wooden plough handle dating back more than 3,000 years, to a contemporary sculpture representing the barbed fences new settlers used on prairies, denying native communities in North America access to traditional food sources.’

If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of farming – which were about 10,000 years ago – and what impact it had on society, this display offers fascinating insights. Farming led to the development of land ownership, settlements and eventually cities and empires – without objects like the humble plough it would not have been possible to build such ancient wonders as the pyramids.

However, at the same time farming greatly increased inequality between a wealthy minority who owned the land and an impoverished majority who worked it. This inequality remains with us today, where more than a third of the Earth’s land is used for growing crops or raising livestock and yet one in nine people go hungry. As the history of agriculture demonstrates, the challenges of feeding the world are not only technical but closely connected to issues of power, politics and economics.