Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Conflict Kitchen (Kubideh) Goes Afghan (Pittsburgh PA)

Four months ago, a group of artists associated with Carnegie Mellon University launched an experiment to spark conversations about countries at odds with the United States. In Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood, they set up Conflict Kitchen, a take-out restaurant promoting culinary and cultural diversity. Opened with offerings of Iranian food, the venue is about to become an Afghani restaurant with a new name, a fresh menu and an updated facade. The national focus is planned to change at least twice more before the project comes to an end.

“In contrast to the polarizing effect of broadcast media, we’ve sought to create a platform which can support a more subtle exchange of culture and politics," notes Dawn Weleski, a multidisciplinary artist wiht a performance bent, who co-founded the project with Jon Rubin and John Peña. "With food as a mediator, it becomes easier for customers to consider the everyday life of people — they become responsive in a different way and consider more nuanced perspectives. They start to consider the people and culture behind conflicts [that are conducted] at a government or military level.”

The newest Conflict Kitchen, Bolani Pazi, offers the popular Afghani street food bolani. The stuffed flatbread will come in a choice of four fillings — pumpkin, potato and leek, spinach or lentil — topped with a dollop of yogurt. Food wrappings will be printed with comments by Afghanis on topics in popular culture and politics.

Read the rest here.


The Pittsburgh Art Blog

The Pittsburgh Art Blog features selected pittsburgh artists and upcoming exhibits with photos from the artists and galleries. since the major press outlets do not go beyond a directory listing of exhibits, blogs are needed to promote pittsburgh artists and their work. the blog also calls attention to the inferiority complex of pittsburgh art and how it's perpetuated by the major players in town. Started on August 20, 2007.pittsburgh area galleries and art venues are listed at the sister site www.PghGalleries.com.

the blog and website are volunteer projects from fine art photographer and pittsburgh artist advocate rick byerly, www.RickByerly.com.