Ellie Kyungran Heo Did You Eat Rice?

Ellie Kyungran Heo, Did You Eat Rice?, film still, 2017. Courtesy the artist and LUX, London.

Now screening on our Digital Array, John Hansard Gallery is pleased to present Ellie Kyungran Heo’s film, Did You Eat Rice? (2017).

The phrase, ‘did you eat rice’ in Asian culture means ‘have you eaten?’, and usually refers to a specific meal: breakfast, lunch or dinner. This idiom also functions as a greeting and an expression of concern for someone, for example, as a substitute for ‘how have you been?’, ‘are you okay?’, or ‘is everything alright?’

The experimental documentary film explores the sensitive relationships that exist between local farmers and their natural environments during the rice harvest in Omachi, Japan. The film captures the many hues and shades of lush green vegetation against a vast open sky. The soundscape transports the viewer to the fields as we experience the rustling of the rice crops and the pitter-patter of rain as it falls to the ground to form puddles in the soft mud. In turn, these organic sounds contrast against the noise of the machinery used to shell the rice husks and turnover the land. The tender care used to nurture the land is also felt amongst the farmers and their community – in this production, various subjects, as well as the audience, are asked the question ‘did you eat rice?’

Ellie Kyungran Heo is an artist who explores socio-ecological solidarity, conflict, and coexistence through time-based media (primarily film), installation, and interdisciplinary research. Following graduation from the Royal College of Art in London (2015), Heo has exhibited and screened her work widely, including at the Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil, São Paulo; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Alabama; Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; Whitechapel Gallery, London; LUX Moving Image, London; Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht; and e-flux Video & Film, New York.

Back to top