Building on the Radical Kitchen: Recipes for Building Community and Creating Change programme launched in 2017, Serpentine presented a second season of its lunchtime gatherings in the Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Frida Escobedo. On Thursday 19 July 2018, researcher Fozia Ismail addressed chilli.
On selected Thursdays over the summer, artists, activists and researchers gathered with the public to consider different global foodstuffs and elements – their stories, their movements and their relationship to time, empire and landscape. Visitors were invited to share food and reflect on empire, geological time, exchange and decolonisation, themes inspired by Escobedo’s design, which draws on the domestic architecture of her native Mexico and British materials and context, specifically the Prime Meridian line at the Royal Observatory.
Each lunchtime session focused on a different element or food item, tracing how ingredients such as sugar, grains and chilli have shaped the globalised world, and how consumption, exchange, politics and economics determine – and are determined by – these elements.
Radical Kitchen 2018 brought together questions generated through two major research strands undertaken by Serpentine Projects. The ongoing Rights to the City programme addresses housing rights, racial discrimination, privatisation of public space and the politics of care. Launching in 2018, General Ecology marks the Serpentine Galleries’ commitment to addressing questions around ecology, complexity, organisation and climate change.
Fozia Ismail co-founded an East African Supper Club called The Matatu Kitchen which has now evolved into Arawelo Eats. Arawelo Eats is a platform for exploring East African food in exciting ways; not just what’s being served on the plates at her supper club, but what it means for our understanding of belonging in a post-Brexit world. Ismail is a researcher writing about race and British identity and has spoken at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery, designed workshops with Keep It Complex and the Museum of London using food as a method to think through complex issues around race and empire.
Radical Kitchen 2018 was a collaboration with Nicoletta Fiorucci, Founder of Fiorucci Art Trust, and was supported by Aesop.