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Who We Beans is a visual poetry exhibition that explores how West Africans in the diaspora use food to fuel communal affection. In her debut exhibition poet Theresa Lola combines text with bio resin, woven art, film, and a specially created board game to explore how food facilitates conversations around community resilience, hybrid identity, and migration. The exhibition is made up of four sections: Acaraje Da Bhalu, Who We Beans, Full English Ewa, and Breaktime Chop.
Acaraje Da Bhalu – The installation explores community resilience and connectedness. Acaraje, the fritter snack brought by West African slaves and sold by Afro Brazilian women has been recreated using bio-resin with poems moulded inside. She chose resin due to their viscous nature and ability to solidify their existence in any space.
Who We Beans – This poeticdocumentary journals the journey of three West African restaurant owners in Southwark, a London borough with a large number of Africans. The film explores their passion for food, more vital than ever post Covid-19 pandemic which squeezed the hospitality industry.
Full English Ewa – Woven photo-text art that renders the joys and tensions of ‘woven’ identities and food fusions. The background photo has a full English breakfast with the baked beans replaced with ewa aganyin, a beans dish popular in Nigeria where Theresa Lola was born.
Breaktime Chop – A board game created by Theresa, inspired by Ludo. The game invites visitors to explore the necessary windows, ‘short breaks’ where we playfully interact and snack with one another, a false but necessary escape from the meatier worries of food accessibility, if at all possible.
Theresa Lola is an award winning British Nigerian poet based in London. She has held poetry residencies at Wellcome Collection, Bethlem Museum of the Mind, and led poetry sessions at galleries and museums in response to art. She has been commissioned by National Gallery, Selfridges, and Tate. Her debut poetry collection ‘In Search of Equilibrium’ was long listed for the 2021 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. Who We Beans marks her first exhibition.
183 – 185 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UW