Food Becomes Art at Washington DC's Smithsonian

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Japanese artist's rice sculpture selected for Smithsonian exhibit.

100 Pounds of Rice - sculpture by artist Saeri Kiritani

Rice sculpture at Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery

Over a million grains of rice went into the 100 pound, five-foot high artwork.

Those hungering for art with more taste will find it at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery. A life-size self-sculpture made entirely from rice by artist Saeri Kiritani, is on exhibit until February, 2014.

Over a million grains of rice went into the 100 pound, five-foot high artwork. Even its hair is made from rice noodles. It is believed to be the largest artwork ever made out of rice.

The unusual sculpture won a place in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, which celebrates excellence and innovation in portraiture. Out of more than 3,000 entries, just 48 were selected for the year-long exhibition. Wendy Wick Reaves, interim director of the museum, says “I think that this installation will dazzle people with the wide variety of materials used to make portraits.”

Ms. Kiritani (, who lives and works in New York City, made the sculpture out of rice because the food is such a big part of her life. "I grew up in Japan, where rice was the biggest part of my diet. It still is. You could say that the cells of my body are made mostly from rice! Also, rice is something that many people in the U.S., and elsewhere, associate with Asian people. Rice is a part of my self-identity and part of how others identify me. So, it made sense that my self-portrait sculpture should be made with rice."

Museum and web visitors can vote for their favorite piece, including Ms. Kiritani's sculpture, by using the gallery's free mobile app, available from this link:

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Exhibit runs from March 23rd, 2013 through February 23rd, 2014 at:
The National Portrait Gallery - Smithsonian Institution
8th and F streets NW
Washington, DC

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