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Frida Kahlo miniature out of rice and seaweed made in Japan

29 January 2024

The distinction between art and food can be a fine one. Edible art Tokyo-based illustrator Takayo Kiyota, AKA Tama-chan, has been crafting miniature masterpieces out of rice and seaweed for 15 years. “I thought, if you could draw freely using the sushi roll technique handed down as a traditional local dish,” she says, “wouldn’t it be possible to create a new form of edible art?” Her creations take many forms, including depictions of famous paintings by Van Gogh, Picasso and Frida Kahlo. “For Japanese people, rice is something familiar and important. People from other countries can draw on paper or canvas, but drawing on rice is an expression unique to Japanese people.”

There is sometimes a subtle difference between food and art. For the past fifteen years, Tokyo-based illustrator Takayo Kiyota, also known as Tama-chan, has been creating miniature works of art using rice and seaweed. 

"I thought, if you could draw freely using the sushi roll technique handed down as a traditional local dish,” she says, “wouldn’t it be possible to create a new form of edible art?". Her works come in a variety of forms, such as representations of well-known works by Frida Kahlo, Picasso, and Van Gogh. Rice holds special significance and familiarity for the people of Japan. While anyone can draw on paper or a canvas, drawing on rice is a Japanese expression exclusive to the country.

See other images here: The Guardian article