For our fourth Artist Kitchen Salon as part of iniva’s Research Network Programme: If Sea is History – What is Nation?, Hong Kong-based visual artist Beatrix Pang shared their ongoing research.
Beatrix is interested in how food can anchor and connect us with our cultural roots and (chosen) family. Expanding on conservations started in Hong Kong, Beatrix connected with members of the East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) genderqueer community living in London to explore migration and diaspora stories as it relates to the fluidity of their experience.
Moving away from Western forms of thinking about trans-formation, creative cook Safiya Robinson devised a dinner menu inspired by dehydrated ingredients that rehydrate, expand or transform in water, symbolic of navigating a trans experience over time and space. Connecting land and sea, the key ingredients included seaweed, sea moss, mushrooms and burdock root that grow everywhere like a diasporic network.
Guests were first welcomed with a soothing ginger and burdock root tea closely followed by a light mushroom-based starter. Published materials from Beatrix’s practice were shared around the dinner table during the comforting main dish of cup noodles served with a special broth. Guests were invited to personalise their cup with silver fungus, dried burdock root and sesame oil or soy sauce seasoning, which expanded within the broth.
Guests also interacted with the research by providing anonymous handwritten reflections with stories about comfort food over an assortment of fruity/refreshing jelly. These notes form part of Beatrix’s research for the publication of a zine.
Beatrix Pang Sin Kwok 彭倩幗 (they/them, Hong Kong) is a visual artist, cultural producer and independent publisher whose early practice revolved around photography, lens-based medium and performance. They are in a one-year residence at Studio Voltaire from January 2023 where Beatrix plans to use the residency to expand their self-publishing practice and produce a series of zines in collaboration with Studio Voltaire’s studio community and audiences. They will also further their experimentations with still/moving image, writing and printing production, and also explore the potential of the kitchen and food to bring London’s ESEA diasporic communities together.
Pang’s early practice revolved around photography, lens-based medium and performance. They studied art photography and fundamental design in Hong Kong and Scandinavia. In 2011, they founded Small Tune Press which publishes and produces artists’ books and zines. Pang co-founded the independent publishers’ collective ZINE COOP to promote zine culture in Hong Kong and Queer Reads Library, a mobile library creating space for queer inclusivity and visibility in Hong Kong and the Asian Diaspora. Pang has exhibited at Tai Kwun Contemporary (Hong Kong), Para Site (Hong Kong), Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Canada), Sprint Milano (Italy) and Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco (USA).
Safiya Robinson is a creative cook, writer, wellness advocate and the founder of sisterwoman vegan, a plant based social enterprise exploring wellness through food. A creative and vibrational cook, she creates plant based dishes inspired by her Black American, Jamaican and British heritage and believes that food is a healing modality, centring community, education and mindfulness in her work. With a focus on holistic wellness and mental health she creates spaces for critical food conversation and seeks to empower us all to think more critically about the food that we eat. Through supper clubs, cooking lessons, writing, events and food education, her focus is intentional nourishment. She is currently enrolled in a masters programme in the Anthropology of Food at SOAS University.
Image: Beatrix Pang, Seed to Textile (2021), courtesy of CHATMILLS6