Sweet + Sour is an exhibition centred around the symbol of Sweet and Sour Chicken: featuring interdisciplinary artists Alya Hatta and Leily Moghtader Mojdehi. The exhibition is a metaphor and reference towards the extremely popular chicken dish in the West, yet is a watered down icon dish of the East.
The exhibition, Sweet + Sour exists as a paradox. It reflects a multi-faceted reality that is diaspora. It thrives on assimilation; seasoned enough to know it is different from the rest, but not too much so it is still palatable to all. To package an identity with two napkins and a pair of chopsticks is to exist within a space that is othering and reductionist. So, we take our battered chicken elsewhere and investigate the diaspora experience through story-telling – reimagining and reinterpreting personal narratives – and create our own personal myths and stories that establish new spaces for unplaceable experiences.
As both artists are currently based in the United Kingdom, the dish in their view present itselves with less authentic British ingredients and a milder taste to appeal to the local masses. It is a ‘westernised’ and modified eating experience that is representative of a diluted Asian culture that those who have migrated to the United Kingdom frequently live by.
Sweet + Sour runs from 19 September – 9 November 2022, and is held at ZHAN Art | Space. The exhibition is a participating gallery of CIMB Artober 2022.