Food Material
Adee Roberson and Essence Harden
June 16, 2020

Active Cultures announces a new series, Food Material, where artists and food practitioners share ingredients and material on their minds and in their lives, diving deep into their histories and meaning today. These conversations in the kitchen (and sometimes studio) will also include friends and special guests, addressing how ingredients can take us from cooking-in-quarantine to questions of scarcity or accessibility, as well as the confluence of cooking and art-making.

Food Material premieres with artist Adee Roberson and curator Essence Harden, close friends who have also shared time in quarantine. From Adee's front yard in Atwater Village, Los Angeles, the two talk recipes, food, legacy, and ancestry, and how the waltz between the itinerant roots of the African Diaspora manifests in Adee's art practice.

Food Material is an ongoing series among many of AC's programs that will begin online until in-person programs are once again viable—all to explore how foodways provide a window into our most fundamental beliefs about cultural expression, equity, environmental sustainability, and ourselves.

This program is organized by Bianca Morán.


Essence Harden is an independent curator, and arts writer based in Los Angeles. Essence has curated exhibitions at Charlie James Gallery, California African American Museum (CAAM), Antenna Gallery (New Orleans), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), The Advocate and Gochis Galleries, Residency Art Gallery (Inglewood), Human Resources, Oakland Museum of California (2020), and UTA Arts (2020). She is a contributor to Contemporary Art Review LA (CARLA), Artsy, LALA, Cultured Magazine, Performa Magazine, and SFAQ: International Arts and Culture amongst other publications and has written catalog entries for Prospect 5: Yesterday we said tomorrow, Brave New Worlds: Exploration of Space: Palm Springs Art Museum, and What Needs to Be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows Exhibition. Essence is a recipient of The 2018 Creative Capital, Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program Grant. Essence graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History and received their Master of Arts from the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley. Essence is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley.

Adee Roberson is a Los Angeles-based artist who weaves sonic and familial archives with landscape, technicolor, rhythm, form, and spirit. She has exhibited and performed internationally, including Antenna Gallery; Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario; Charlie James Gallery; Contemporary Art Center New Orleans; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Portland Institute of Contemporary Art; Project Row Houses; Women's Center for Creative Work, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.