ZSW’s Paladar at Third Streaming Gallery, NYC

On February 22nd 2012 when she participated in the Paladar series, curated by Yona Backer at her Third Streaming space in Soho, New York. The Paladar series is an event where artists are invited to cook for paying guests at Third Streaming Gallery. For her Paladar, Zina cooked a “remixed” West African feast for 27 paying guests.

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I am obsessed with food – all food – and I have always suspected that food could play a big part in telling new stories about Africa. Not only telling stories to the outside world but to other Africans. Because even among West African countries, it seems that there is very little sharing of culinary ideas, particularly between Francophone and Anglophone cuisines. And when it comes to the outside world, there is no doubt that West African cuisine is one of the least experienced and least understood on the planet. This is a shame because West African food is amazing and I feel like a powerful exchange occurs when you eat another culture’s food. West Africa misses out on this exchange. So my pop-up feasts act as major rewiring sessions that engage the heart, the mind and the belly.”

By drilling down to what would be the essence of West African flavours and re-interpreting them in new ways, Zina hopes to challenge what is understood as ‘being African’ at an elemental level. She presents her culinary ideas in an immersive environment articulated by African video and sound art and the evening ends with a lecture or story-telling session. “I see each feast as a performance. Transformation through communion. The ritual act of ingesting and incorporating a West African worldview as well as my energy. ”