Show­case: All You Need is Love and Lob­ster

A de­li­ciously off­beat show by a Mar­itime artist with a flair for retro fash­ion and a hunger for cer­tain crus­taceans

More of Our Canada - - Contents - by Cyn­thia A. Henry, Glen Mar­garet, N. S. Cyn­thia drew in­spi­ra­tion for her 17-piece Love and Lob­ster se­ries from the now-retro stylings of ad­ver­tise­ments and posters dat­ing back to the1950s.

It’s quirky, it’s retro—and it’s un­like any art ex­hibit you’ve ever seen.

With Canada’s mo­men­tous an­niver­sary now upon us, Cana­di­ans from coast to coast are re­flect­ing on what it truly means to be a Cana­dian and what our coun­try means on the world’s stage. It’s no se­cret that many parts of the world are in an eerie state of po­lit­i­cal tur­moil, war, eco­nomic in­sta­bil­ity and anar­chy, yet Canada still con­tin­ues to en­joy a sense of pro­longed sta­bil­ity, calm and com­pas­sion.

For Mar­itimers, a big part of the Cana­dian ex­pe­ri­ence is catch­ing, pre­par­ing and eat­ing lob­ster.

Have you ever eaten a fresh Nova Sco­tia lob­ster? Steam­ing hot with melted but­ter, and a squeeze of lemon on the side?

You start with the legs. Suc­cu­lent, tasty temp­ta­tions of the feast to come. A spray of juice from freshly cracked claws and knuck­les full of the taste of briny ocean—you’d bet­ter wear a bib!

Then—best of all—the tail, so full of meat and dipped in but­ter, it is a drip­ping-down-your-chin­de­li­cious de­light!

By now you are stuffed, and if you just can’t eat any more, your lob­ster body is snatched up by some­one else at the ta­ble who savours the caviar of the lob­ster— the roe and the toma­l­ley inside. The roe is the “red stuff,” the un­fer­til­ized eggs of the fe­male lob­ster. The toma­l­ley, or the “green stuff,” is the di­ges­tive gland that acts as the in­tes­tine, liver and pan­creas. Many con­sider them a del­i­cacy.

As you’ve likely sur­mised by now, I love lob­ster! And I love the lan­guage of din­ing with lob­ster. When buy­ing a lob­ster, I first ask for a fe­male, and then in­quire, “Is she fresh and is she full?” Mean­ing full of meat and loaded with roe. I al­ways start with the legs and end up ask­ing who wants my body. The words used to de­scribe the meal are like those used to de­scribe a beau­ti­ful woman. Eat­ing a fe­male lob­ster is an en­tic­ing feast.

My ab­so­lute love of lob­ster in­spired a re­cent art

show that launched on June 18 at the ARTSPLACE in An­napo­lis Royal, N. S. I ti­tled it “All You Need Is Love. And Lob­ster.” It is a con­tem­po­rary culi­nary show­case, with a menu of 17 acrylic paint­ings, cel­e­brat­ing the savoury ex­pe­ri­ence and sexy lan­guage of din­ing with a Nova Sco­tia lob­ster. Most of the women fea­tured in this se­ries were se­lected from vin­tage ad­ver­tise­ments from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Ex­tract­ing the images of these women from their orig­i­nal advertising en­vi­ron­ment, I placed them in the con­text of ador­ing lob­sters, then added retro back­grounds and head­lines.

Pic­ture Angie Dickinson, lay­ing full length in a 1981 ad for Cal­i­for­nia av­o­ca­dos. The head­line asks, “Would this body lie to you?” Us­ing just her legs, with a lob­ster draped over one of them, my re­pur­posed head­line reads, “Fresh Lob­ster.”

The di­rec­tor of the gallery, So­phie Pask­ins, a de­light­ful ad­di­tion to the art scene in Nova Sco­tia, joked when she saw it, say­ing, “That lob­ster looks aw­fully tired!”

“Of course,” I replied, “he was up all night. Lob­sters are noc­tur­nal, you know!”

The head­lines are fun, full of op­por­tu­ni­ties for me to play on words. “Ret-roe Lob­ster,” with its pais­ley/flo­ral back­ground rem­i­nis­cent of the ’70s, is one ex­am­ple. Or in “Roe, Roe, Roe Your Boat,” the lady de­picted sports a boa of fe­male lob­sters, as she goes about her life “mer­rily, mer­rily, mer­rily.” After all, the more roe there is, the more lob­sters you get to en­joy! And no mat­ter what shell the fe­male lob­ster wears, she is al­ways in fash­ion.

In “Some­thing Old, Some­thing New, Some­thing Bor­rowed and Some­thing Blue,” the blue-gloved

woman holds a blue lob­ster as if it were a bou­quet of flow­ers. Did you know that the blue lob­ster is very rare? Only one in two mil­lion is blue.

I can’t help but feel that Mar­itimers are spoiled in Nova Sco­tia. Al­though the lob­ster fish­ing sea­sons are stag­gered and vary by lo­ca­tion, it is lob­ster sea­son all year long! In the paint­ing “Tis the Sea­son to Be Jolly,” a woman hoists a lob­ster trap like Santa’s sack, against a back­ground of lob­ster Christ­mas wrap­ping paper.

Not only is lob­ster de­li­cious and al­ways in fash­ion, it’s healthy, too. Ac­cord­ing to Canada’s Food Guide, lob­ster is gen­er­ally low in fat and pro­vides es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents. A one-pound lob­ster con­tains around 115 calo­ries, less than 1 gram of fat and a healthy 28 grams of pro­tein per cup. Dip­ping it in but­ter, how­ever, adds fat and calo­ries, but that’s the diner’s choice and no fault of the lovely and nu­tri­tious lob­ster.

With all the pos­i­tives lob­ster has to of­fer, it’s no won­der I was so in­spired by the sub­ject! ■

A snapshot from Cyn­thia’s ex­hi­bi­tion in June 2017, from left to right: wood­carver Philip Eis­ner; David Archibald (kneel­ing); Cyn­thia; Chris­tine Henry Delong (Cyn­thia’s twin!); Hal Forbes; Wendy Abram­son (be­hind); Jan Mckin­non; Sue Hersey; and Becky Ro­bar.

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