Chop Bar by Akwasi Brenya-Mensa
Chop bars. the roadside joints dishing out healthy portions of starch and wonder: banku, fufu, omo tuo, pounded by sinewy arms and used to mop up every last bit of whatever warming soup, sauce or stew is on the menu.
Giant spluttering pots tended to above a fire and sat atop a strategically placed car wheel. Kontomire, nkatekwan, light soup, okra soup. Plastic chairs, old petrol cans for stools, plastic tables, paper table cloths. Seemingly impervious to the ills of gentrification. but for just how long?
To reimagine them is to protect and preserve them. To trigger distant memories in the minds of the diaspora’s children calling them home.
Chop Bar is a multisensory installation that imagines the roadside joint of the future next to that of today.
It is an interactive and multipurpose space that invites guests to pull up a seat and immerse themselves in the artists’ interpretation of tomorrow’s African dining.
The lounge houses custom-made objects, furnishings, and textiles alongside a built-in space for food preparation, serving, eating, libation and social interaction.
Screens pay homage to the lives of the women behind these institutions. we stand on the shoulders of giants. Giant mothers and giant aunties who have preserved tradition, heritage, and alchemy for centuries. We celebrate what came before.