Shyamali Sinha’s popular YouTube channel Foodie’s Hut has been chosen for the ‘One Million Views’ project, as part of the upcoming Next Wave Festival
Next Wave is an experimental arts festival that has been running bi-annually in Melbourne for the past 30 years. Established in 1984, the main ideology of the festival has been to provide career development and presentation opportunities to artists, particularly emerging artists. The festival values ideas that are risk-taking, and also emphasises on the inclusion of artists from diverse genders, sexual orientations and cultural backgrounds.
‘One Million Views’ is the debut collaborative project of Xanthe Dobbie and Tiyan Baker, award winning digital artists who share a common love for video portraiture, popular culture, new technology and the internet.
According to socialmedianews.com.au, Australians love YouTube, with 14 million unique visits in March 2016 alone. Baker says that Australia’s YouTube consumption habits online reflect a love of celebrities and personalities that play intimate roles in their private lives, and yet are almost wholly unacknowledged beyond the internet.
“Through One Million Views, we wanted to investigate this cultural blind spot by using portraiture to ask who are YouTubers, why do they make this content, who watches this content and why?”
Tiyan and Xanthe believe that YouTubers are an amazing lot of people and it takes a ton of creativity, hard work and courage to start and keep a channel going. So One Million Views is also about legitimising this fact and celebrating these YouTubers as true creators. “One of our other major goals with One Million Views’ was to integrate two major audiences: art audiences and YouTube audiences. As artists who love YouTube, we wanted to see what happens when these two worlds get mixed together.”
And that’s where Foodie’s Hut comes in, created by a Melbourne-based Bengali chef celebrating her love and passion for Indian/Bengali food in her adopted country.
Shyamali Sinha was born and brought up in Kolkata and moved to Melbourne in 2011 with her husband. She has always had a passion for food, wanting to learn and experience all kinds of tastes, which make her a bit of a travel aficionado too.
But what really drives her is her passion for Bengali and Indian food, wanting to take it to a global audience and showing the world that Indian cuisine is more than just curry and butter chicken masala. And this was the main motivation behind her YouTube channel, Foodie’s Hut.
The move to Melbourne made Sinha homesick for all those comforting flavours and tastes from back home, and she actively began to think of doing something about it. She also noticed there were very few YouTube channels focusing on the cuisine of Bengal. Coupled with her husband’s motivation (also her technical expert), she launched Foodie’s Hut on Bengali New Year’s Day in 2012.
She took a brief hiatus to have a beautiful little girl and returned to Melbourne and Foodie’s Hut.
Speaking to Indian Link, Sinha said, “Home cooked food is not just about feeding your hunger, it is also about feeding and nourishing your soul, igniting memories of family and home which can be a rather strong emotion when you are living in a different country. You not only want to cook familiar tastes but also learn traditional recipes and re-create these in your own kitchen, eventually passing on that knowledge to the next generation.”
Apart from Bengali delicacies, Foodie’s Hut is also about simple Indian and international recipes that are suited for those who are rushed for time, and also those who are just starting to learn cooking.
Shyamali is excited about being a part of the One Million Views project. She says it is a huge recognition for her passion and hard work, being featured alongside other creative YouTubers. It also provides Foodie’s Hut with a global audience and a bigger platform to showcase her passion for food.
To newbies or wannabe YouTubers, the only thing she has to say is that the journey is a long one, and only hard work, passion and dedication for your craft will help you be successful.
One Million Views will be presented as six diptych portraits of the YouTubers in shop front windows along Errol Street in North Melbourne, from 5 to 22 May. Also included is a walking tour of the exhibition locations with the artists themselves on Saturday 7 May, and a How to Go Viral YouTuber workshop on Sunday 8 May at Arts House.
There is also an online portal with essays, videos and interviews that will be released soon at onemillionviews.com.au