Sweet tidings

Author
by Elise Murphy
Publish date
10 May 2012
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Sweet talker Elise Murphy is working with Emily Kocaj to organise the Sweets festival and exhibition. Elise is responsible for community festivals at the Immigration Museum and has a very sweet tooth.

The power of sweets to bring people together was affirmed on Sunday 18 March at the Immigration Museum, as over 2,255 visitors flocked to the Sweets festival and launch of the Sweets: tastes and traditions from many cultures exhibition. Six months in the making, the festival and exhibition showcased the satisfying results of collaboration between the Museum and the Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mauritian and Turkish communities in Victoria.

Indian dancers Sweets for the Gods, Tara Rajkumar’s Natya Sudha Dance Company
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Heidi Victoria, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Assisting the Premier with the Arts, opened the sugar-fuelled occasion. Luscious treats made by community groups and local business owners showcased our rich cultural heritage alongside commissioned dance and music performances, cooking demonstrations from community members and stories, objects and films in the exhibition. By the end of the day, there wasn't a single sweet left in the Museum.

Women looking at exhibition showcase Heidi Victoria (second from left) viewing the Sweets exhibition with community members and MV staff.
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Turkish and Italian sweets Left: Visitor sampling Turkish sherbet | Right: Italian sweets stall
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

It was a delight to see intercultural and intergenerational exchanges sparked by simple acts of sharing sweets and memories. "Energising, uplifting and reassuring," as Patricia Kimtia, President of the Cultural Historical Association of Rodriguans & Mauritians, suggests, "such richness and positive interaction restores hope that the fabric of our society is stronger than one may think and the sense of community prevails."

Women performing a Japanese tea ceremony Japanese tea ceremony demonstration with wagashi sweets
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Although the festival was a special one-day event, the exhibition will run until 7 April 2013 with opportunities for all to visit and share stories and recipes. The sweetest taste, the enriching experience of collaborating with community members and colleagues on this intercultural project, is one that will linger much longer.

Visitors enjoying sweets at the festival Visitors enjoying sweets at the festival
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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