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An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976, 2023

FREE, drop in, 11.00–17.00 Monday to Sunday (last admission 16.30) between 8 November – 3 December 2023 and 8 March- 7 April 2024. 


Find the installation on Tate Britain's South Lawn near Millbank Entrance.


Update: The home is now closed until 8 March 2024.


From 8 November 2023, Tate Britain is presenting a restaging of  Bobby Baker's radical sculptural installation An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, which has not been seen for almost 50 years.


Originally staged in 1976, a replica of Baker’s prefabricated east London Acme house is sited outside Tate Britain on the South Lawn. It contains five life-size sculptures of family members made from cake, biscuits, meringues and snacks, which can be steadily eaten by the public. Visitors to Tate Britain are invited into the home to sample the edible sculptures whilst browsing the interior, and talking to hosts trained by Baker herself.


The installation is part of Tate Britain’s major new exhibition Women in Revolt! Art and Activism 1970-1990. The exhibition features over 100 women artists and celebrates their often-unsung contribution to British culture. Open from 8 November 2023 to 7 April 2024, the show includes photographs of Baker’s original sculptural installation from 1976. The restaged Edible Family is open to the public and free to visit for the first four weeks of the exhibition from 8 November – 3 December and again for the final four weeks of the exhibition 8 March –  7 April 2024.


Baker originally staged her installation over the course of a week in 1976 in her prefab home in Stepney. Visitors were invited to eat the ‘family’ and were offered cups of tea by Baker, who performed the role of polite female host. The family members occupied various rooms in Baker’s home, whose walls were plastered in newspaper and decorated with icing, scenting the air with sugar. In the living room, a father made of fruit cake slumped in an armchair surrounded by tabloid news stories; in the bath, a teenage son adorned with garibaldi biscuits lay in chocolate cake bathwater, against a background of boys' comics; and in the kitchen, a mother constructed from a dress maker’s mannequin with a teapot for a head, offered a constant supply of fairy cakes, sandwiches and fruit from compartments in her hollow abdomen. Baker baked, sculpted and decorated each of these family members herself over the course of three months.


The work outside Tate Britain is a replica of the original artwork, with several elements updated by the artist. The figures of a son, daughter, husband, wife, and baby are formed of garibaldi biscuits, meringue and various flavours of cake (including a vegan option), baked by Lily Vanilli and assembled by Baker and her team. Following a period of research with the UCL’s Institute for Making, Baker has used a contemporary icing to decorate the walls of the house, while the building’s structure has been slightly adapted to improve accessibility. The hosts, specially trained by Baker, include students from Chelsea College of Art and young women recruited through race and class inclusion charity You Make It.


After its run at Tate Britain, Edible Family will travel to coincide with the tour of Women in Revolt! to the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. Following the end of its tour, the prefab house will be donated to Idle Women, a Lancashire-based arts, environment and social justice organisation which works to create transformative spaces for women in their local community. The organisation’s members will decide on their preferred use for the structure – which could include a community café or creative space – and then use the skills taught by Idle Women to repurpose the building, ensuring it has a long and valuable life beyond the exhibition.


Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Additional support has been secured from Acme, with further funders to be announced.


Click here to read a conversation between Bobby Baker and independent curator, Gemma Lloyd, about the installation.


Credits

Artistic Director: Bobby Baker

Production Designer: Miranda Melville

Technical Director: Steve Wald


Producer: Caroline Smith

Development: Ilana Mitchell 

House Fabrication: Miraculous Engineering

Materials Development: Ellie Doney

Cake: Lily Vanilli

Meringues: Cotswold Handmade Meringues 

Makers : Millie Holland, Terri Mercieca, Maja Quille 

Live Producer (hosts): Daisy Gould

Artist Liaison : Gemma Lloyd

Production Office: Melissa Bradshaw, Kemi Williams

Evaluation: Dora Whittuck


With special thanks to Rachel Fleming-Mulford and Linsey Young,

without whose early support and enthusiasm this re-staging would not have been possible.


See full list of credits and supporters here.


Coming soon: 


EPIC DOMESTIC is Bobby Baker’s artistic mission to fight gender injustice, connect communities, and challenge the unequal division of domestic labour in the home. Inspired by activism, propaganda, and the untold stories of women all over the world, EPIC DOMESTIC is a quest to create a Domestic Revolutionary Party fit for the 21st Century.


Sign up here to stay informed about EPIC DOMESTIC and find out how you can join the Revolution!


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