Sri Lankan food : memory, festivity and its significance in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of the Master of Design at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Recipes that have been passed down from one generation to another serve as portable pieces of the Sri Lankan past. Therefore, food and generational memories go hand in hand as powerful transmitters of cultural heritage to the emerging generation of Sri Lankan-New Zealanders. This thesis employs typography to communicate generational memories and experiences primarily evoked by food. The research sets out to explore the formal and experimental properties of Sinhala and English typography through the use of word concepts and recipes. The research through design process explores the relationships between the verbal and the visual to communicate aspects of Sri Lankan cultural values through typographic form. Consequently, typography works as a tool for carrying cultural tradition forward in New Zealand. The research argues that Sri Lankan food acts as a cultural link but in the context of a continuous process of adaptation. Therefore, the role of a festive Sri Lankan recipe in New Zealand assumes a deeper significance. Actively combining and layering visual modes of graphic language and typography weaves together the ideas of generational experiences, the process of adaptation and Sri Lankan identity in a contemporary New Zealand environment. The production of graphic design work that incorporates both Sinhala and English typography has been very scarce. Therefore, through research for design and analysis this thesis will offer some insights into cultural visibility and its impacts on cultural identity drawn from the literature on food and generational memory.