14th July, 18.00 h @Vierte Welt, Kottbusser Tor, Berlin. An evening on decolonial theory and practice with Kavita Meelu, hn.lyonga, Celina Baljeet Basra, Daeng Khamlao and Magnus Elias Rosengarten. For the LA PALABRE series, from July-December 2023, we invite Berlin-based researchers*, artists*, and activists* to discuss the issues we have been working on over the past two years as part of TALKING OBJECTS, an artistic research project on decolonizing knowledge. In a small La Palabre group of 40 people, we meet and share snacks and stories.


Six evenings on decolonial theory and practice.

“La Palabre” refers to the social practice of public discourse, gathering, and conflict resolution in numerous countries on the African continent; the location is always a baobab tree, the “l’arbre à palabre”.

“La Palabre” deals with themes that we have developed over the past two years in symposia, talks, think tanks and artistic interventions as part of the TALKING OBJECTS LAB project. The impulse for each evening is input from the TALKING OBJECTS LAB (texts, video performances or lectures), on which one or two Berlin artists or speakers, especially from the BIPoC communities, work and discuss together with the guests. For the fixed ritual of eating together, we invite cooks, artists, anthropologists, poets, and initiatives that deal with the cultural practice of eating, food and its colonial entanglements.


Decolonizing Food, Memory, and the Changing Cityscape

What and how we eat has to do not only with national cultural imprinting but also with global power structures and colonialities. Local policies and processes of gentrification also shape the gastronomic landscape of a city and our eating habits. Who is allowed to (co-)cook? Who is invited, and who stays out? Who works in the kitchen, and who sits at the table?

The TALKING OBJECTS LAB already explored the topic in the workshop “Anti-Colonial Approaches to Nature” in July 2022 in Nairobi and in the performative symposium “UNEXPECTED LESSONS #2 – Decolonizing Nature” in September 2022 in Reykjavík. Central themes were food justice, seed archives and their colonial entanglements, indigenous knowledge about plants and agriculture, and food as cultural practice and archive.

For the “La Palabre” evening in Berlin, cultural anthropologist Kavita Meelu invites us to cut and share fruit together: a childhood memory and an elementary gesture of caring. Kavita has been instrumental in shaping the Berlin gastronomy scene with the Supper Club Mother's Mother, Streetfood Thursday, among others, and, together with restaurateur Daeng Khamlao, talks about her work at Smells Like Collective and the unexpected lessons she has encountered along the way.

Kavita talks to Celina Baljeet Basra, curator, writer, and part of the Talking Objects Lab team, whose novel explores migrant (food) labour in Southern Europe.

Author and activist hn.lyonga not only contributes a reading, but also brings homemade sauces for us to try with fried plantains and puff puffs from Papa Africa.

We share excerpts from a talk by ethnobiologist Patrick Maundu, who uses Kenya as an example to explain the ongoing influence of colonial past on food and agriculture at our June 2022 workshop in Nairobi. Talking Objects Lab curator Isabel Raabe talks about the workshop in Nairobi and the complex experiences of the symposium in Reykjavík. The evening will be moderated by Magnus Elias Rosengarten.


»LA PALABRE« is curated by Isabel Raabe and Celina Baljeet Basra.
Supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds.

hn.lyonga – mola lyonga’s Cashew Dip (Mboh)
La Palabre #1 - Cutting Fuits
La Palabre #1 - Kavta Meelu and Daeng Khamlao Input
La Palabre #1 - Cutting Fruits
La Palabre #1 - Celina Basra reading Happy
La Palabre #1 - hn.lyonga reading poetry
design by Visual Intelligence