A rural landscape that conveys the feel of the vastness, the colors, and scents of rice fields, greets visitors as they begin their journey into the world of rice. The Rice Cluster will also illustrate how rice grows, including how the water covers and protects the seedlings.
Rice is both adaptable and nutritious. This is why, more than 10,000 years ago, people started cooking and eating rice. The first kind was, it is believed, what we would call a Chinese-type rice. This variety has since spread worldwide from the valleys of China, and is still being enjoyed today as a key element of many cuisines.
Given our knowledge of the history of rice and the countless varieties that are available, it is imperative that we appreciate the central role that this cereal plays in enriching biodiversity. Within the Rice Cluster, the visitor will have the chance to time-travel and see how people in different countries have, over the years, come up with innovative ways to cultivate rice.
Gianni Berengo Gardin: Rice Landscapes
"I feel deep admiration for farming culture. Rural landscape, work in the fields, daily life in the farmland and in the villages, are topics I have always been passionate about and that have accompanied me in my photographic research from the start. My first encounter with rice and paddy fields occurred long time ago in Piedmont where I saw a group of mondine (female paddy workers) bent down in water under a scorching sun. Back-breaking labor it is. This image stuck in my memory and has been the origin of a vast photo-project carried out along the years. To tell the different stories connected to the cultivation of rice: man and the environment, water, nature and the changing seasons, working the fields, the farmsteads, the old tools and the new machineries, ancient gestures and modern computerized techniques. A world full of fascination where the threads of tradition and those of modern life are still tightly knit".
Gianni Berengo Gardin
Gianni Berengo Gardin was born in Santa Margherita Ligure in 1930 and began taking photographs in 1954. In 1965 he settled in Milan and began his professional career. He has worked with many important Italian and foreign magazines, but has mainly concentrated on producing books. From 1954 to 1965 he worked with "Il Mondo", then edited by Mario Pannunzio. He has received numerous prizes, including one from World Press Photo in 1963, and he received the Leica Oskar Barnack Award in 1995 for his book "La disperata allegria. Vivere da zingari a Firenze". In 2008 he received the prestigious Lucie Award for Lifetime Achievement. He had more than 200 solo exhibitions in Italy and abroad and his photographs are part of numerous museums collections. In 2014 the volume "Gianni Berengo Gardin. Il libro dei libri" that collects all the books published by the italian photographer during his long career, is issued.
EXHIBITION CONTENT: Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy
SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR AND PROJECT COORDINATOR: Marialuisa Lavitrano
CONCEPT AND EXHIBITION LAYOUT: Agnese Rebaglio, Davide Crippa,
Barbara Di Prete, and Francesco Tosi
TOTAL AREA: 3,546 sqm
EXHIBITION AREA: 1,000 sqm
COMMON AREA: 2,420 sqm
EVENTS AREA: 738 sqm
The Cluster structure
Within this Cluster, visitors will be immersed in a rural setting featuring different varieties of rice growing in paddy fields, thanks to a kaleidoscopic effect, created with mirrors. The option to try actual rice products is available at the many kiosks situated throughout the public area.
An adaptable food
Rice is a staple for almost three billion people, in other words, just under half of the world’s population. Once dried, rice can be stored for a very long time and, thus, in case of famine, can be a lifesaving food source. An essential commodity for many Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans who live in tropical and sub-tropical climates, for Oriental cultures, having rice equals wealth
: rice is seen as being as valuable as money or gold.
For the ever-growing world population, rice represents a primary source of nourishment
. Due to its adaptability, rice can be grown almost anywhere, and can be easily distributed to any part of the world.
COUNTRIES BELONGING TO THIS CLUSTER
UN's presence in the Rice Cluster
Produced in every continent except Antarctica, rice is the primary staple for more than half of the world’s population and many United Nations’ projects involve supporting smallholders in developing countries. Due to this, one of the 18 UN Spaces in the UN Itinerary illustrates the work being done by the various United Nations organizations to support the production of rice, as more than one billion people depend on its production for their livelihoods.
is present with 18 multimedia installations, easily recognizable by their giant blue spoons. These UN Spaces are located in various areas of the site along the itinerary dedicated to the theme “The Zero Hunger Challenge • United for a sustainable world”.