Monday, October 8, 2007


10/7: Eddoes, oil on canvas panel, approx. 4x6 in. NFS

We stopped by the Asian American Food Market yesterday (ah, that fishy smell on a hot day) to get some sambal and browse around. I saw these things labeled "eddo," and picked them up not knowing what they were, thinking I'd torture myself later by painting their strange texture. It makes me think of an armadillo (or some ringed bug I might have seen), almost scaly, kind of furry. I played up the warm and cool tones within the browns, hoping not to break up the form too much. This was about two and a half hours.

Eddoes are a small variety of taro root (Colocasia esculenta). Taro, though the word is Polynesian, originated in India or Malaysia(?) - not China as the Creole dasheen ("de Chine") suggests. Its cultivation spread to China, throughout South Asia and eventually Polynesia, and west to the Mediterranean and Africa. Slave traders would later bring it from Africa to the West Indies, and the word "eddo" apparently is derived from one or more West African words. According to there are more than 200 varieties of taro, though not all cultivated. It has been cultivated for 7000 years, and is believed to have been harvested in New Guinea 30,000 years ago!

The taro plant is related to a Caladium and likewise may sometimes be called an "elephant ear" because of its large leaves.

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