Haruko Okano. Community Participatory Public Art 1

1998 - 2001 High(bridi)Tea Performances High(bridi)Tea Performances, 1998 - 2001
Medium: Organic cultivated mold/fungus and commiercially available materials. Dimensions: 26 place settings varying in arrangement according to the venue. Purpose: An interdisciplinary collaboration about racial/cultural hybridity.
The collaborative performances by Fred Wah and myself combined stories of growing up in Canada. Okano is a cultural hybrid. Wah is a racial hybrid. Our stories are told while serving up racialized words printed on white bread and pouring black tea for 26 members of the public. The performance begins the moment all 26 place settings are occupied. The stories focus on the struggles of assimilation and language. Participants are invited to save their slice of bread, the menu and the waiter’s bill pad.
First mounted during an Artists Residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1998) we went on to perform it at the Or Gallery, Vancouver, BC sponsored by the Kootenay School of Writing (1999), at the Nice Cafe, Vancouver, sponsored by the grunt gallery (2000) and then I performed it solo for the Powell Street Festival (2001).