Tea Cart Stories, Michelle Brody's installation project in the windows of 97 Orchard Street, will be closing this Thursday, January 14th.
With this interactive and ever-changing exhibit, the artist has explored the worldwide tradition of sharing tea.
In early 2009, Michelle held tea parties with students from the Museum's ESOL program, "Shared Journeys." Students from Argentina, Yemen and China shared stories about their home countries, which they wrote down on their used tea bags. Michelle also collected stories from passerby on Orchard Street, who stepped into her tea cart over the summer to share a cuppa and talk about tea. The cart was crafted out of an old pushcart in the Museum’s collection.
These stories, along with photographs of the participants, were strung along a copper support structure inside the front windows of the tenement. Each tea bag holds a unique story about the most widely drunk beverage in the world next to water. Together they form a quilt-like narrative. The viewer is invited to contemplate how tea might connect lives across cultures.
As the artist notes: "In Great Britain they drink tea as a break from the work day. In the Middle East tea is served as a welcoming gesture to guests. In Japan the Tea Ceremony is highly ritualized cultural production. One drink has an enormous place in the lives of millions of people. To look at our world through tea is to see our differences as well as the similarities that bind us."
- posted by Kate