One of my simplest delights is eating a piece of fruit in the shower. First, I carefully select it and place it in the freezer. Once the fruit has had some time to chill, I bring it into my steam-filled bathroom, where I eat the refreshing snack under the hot water. The fruit’s aroma fills the room. I don’t need to worry about getting the sticky juices on my hands or clothes. It’s a gift to the senses—unbridled joy.
Historically, the visual motif of fruit has represented harvest and abundance, virtues and beliefs, good fortune, or the season. I’ve gravitated toward fruit in my artistic practice when I wish to convey a quiet longing or a reminder that the passage of time cannot be willed to shift.
A few years ago, I was moved by a story by writer Fred Wah in which he reflects on a flavour that he can’t quite pin down. The absence of the taste gnaws at his memory. When he comes across a white turnip, he instantly knows that he has found the missing flavour. It made me consider how sensations, taste and memory are embedded in our bodies and passed down between generations.
A friend and mentor once told me how she and her siblings would each receive a single lychee to cherish on Lunar New Year. At the time, there weren’t as many Chinese families in Toronto and produce from warmer lands wasn’t plentiful. I imagined the beautiful sensations that longed-for lychee must have brought them—how much anticipation must have been built up to taste this fruit from afar, as if seeing a relative or old friend after years of distance.