Zina’s New West African Kitchen project debuts Paladar at Third Streaming Gallery, NYC 2012

On February 22nd 2012, Zina participated in the Paladar series, curated by Yona Backer at Third Streaming Gallery, Soho, New York. The Paladar series invited artists to create a feast for paying guests at the gallery. For her own Paladar, Zina curated and cooked a “remixed” West African feast for 27 paying guests. Her New West African Kitchen project is one that seeks to tell African stories through cuisine and find reconnection between West African culinary traditions that share much in common but are rarely have dialogue with one another.

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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. 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. ”