Monday, February 27, 2012

canberra multicultural festival - a food feast

The Canberra Multicultural Festival – one of the busiest events of the year in Canberra where the streets of the city are filled with stalls set up by the city’s local businesses, including multicultural food/drink, clothes and similar.

The atmosphere is bustling, busy, curious and lively. The air is a cocktail of smells from the sausage sizzle, curry, beer, sweaty children, spices – it’s not sticky or unbearable but refreshing and dynamic.

The food I shared with my friend included Afrian and Samaon food – I insisted we stear away from Thai, Chinese, Italian or anything moderately generic, so as to expand what we are familiar with. The Samaon food is the only one I can remember (it was a very long day), and it was a sweet and sour chicken, with rice and glass noodles. Sounds a bit Asian at first, but the flavours were much sweeter than Asian food I normally eat.

Everytime I go to these festivals, the line for the Dutch profiteroles is bloody long, with at least 20 people. And it seemed like a bit of a rip off as you’d pay $10 for 10 flat pieces of batter, each the size of a 20 cent piece (yes it’s all in relation to the value/aesthetic of money – joke). I wanted to see all the hype was about so I bit my tongue and lined up. The profiteroles ended up being light, sweet and buttery. Each was like a flat ball of heaven and sophisticated childhood memories. Definitely worth the (short) wait and the money.

And a bit of ‘art’ in the everyday environment – my favourite type of art. “Private poetry – trespassers welcome”. This is a play on the typical bureaucratic sign “Private Property – Trespassers will be prosecuted”. Presuming people know of the latter/original sign, this sign mocks and questions the boundaries created by property and ownership. It half-suggests an alternative – poetry (and perhaps other art forms) is/are accessible, welcoming and want your active participation. My question is: how did this sign get placed here – it seems like a stable and permanent piece – did the government fund/approve it? And if so, does that change the meaning and does it still have an ‘oppositional’ meaning?

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