An art installation featuring fresh, unwanted carrots dumped by an art student onto the ground in the middle of the Goldsmiths campus in Lewisham has caused outrage among other students.
The 29 tonnes of carrots were dumped by the truckload on Tuesday outside the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art by Masters of Fine Art student Rafael Pérez Evans.
Pérez Evans said the point of the installation, called ‘Grounding’ was to show the disconnect between cities and rural food production.
Pérez Evans said on his website: “Dumping protests bring blinded city people into an alarming contact with their forgotten foods and its production.” He was unavailable for comment.
But other students have climbed on the pile of carrots and made soup and carrot cake out of the produce to raise money for a local food bank, the Trussel Trust.
One of them, Nancy Violet Jolene, told Eastlondonlines: “40% of children in Lewisham live below the poverty line and to dump this amount of usable food that humans could eat in an area that is suffering from that does seem not just in bad taste but actually actively harmful.”
The bakers, who raised nearly £700 in two days, were keen to say that the art was not representative of all Goldsmiths art students.
Jolene said: “We’re not separate from Lewisham, we are it, and if we’re in a position of privilege to a large extent then we’ve got to recognise that but also not see ourselves as separate from the community.”
An Instagram account, @goldsmithscarrots, set up by students opposing the piece now has over 3000 followers.
Pérez Evans purchased the produce rejected by UK supermarkets from a bulk animal feed provider and the project was not funded by Goldsmiths.
The carrots are going to be sent to feed animals after the exhibition ends.
One of the bakers, Yasmin Metcalfe, told ELL that the piece was “distasteful” and “tone deaf” during Covid-19, when redundancies are high and food banks are shutting down.
“I think it’s the most ridiculous idea ever, there’s tasteful ways of proving a point and this is just not it.” said Metcalfe, 23.
On Twitter, some users chose to see the funny side of the installation, with brand Specsavers commenting: “Apparently quite a few students have been studying in dark rooms, so it’s to help with night vision.”
The pile of produce has now attracted the attention of food waste app Olio with a listing advertising the free carrots.