A series of Cultural/ Culinary/ Live-Art Events
CONCEIVED AND CREATED BY MOLLY RICE AND MEMBERS OF THE FEMALE AFGHAN REFUGEE COMMUNITY
DIRECTED BY RUSTY THELIN
From March-May 2019, RealTime Interventions and the Office of Public Art were thrilled to present “Khūrākī”, a series of four live cultural/ culinary events created and written by RealTime’s Molly Rice in collaboration with a group of recently-resettled Afghan refugees in Pittsburgh.
The events, directed by RealTime’s Rusty Thelin, included:
Program 1: New Year. Centered around traditions of the Afghan new year (Nowruz) and the women’s personal stories of home. Performed at the Millvale Moose (@ New Sun Rising) and at the Union Project in East Liberty.
Program 2: Change and Permanence. Focused on the ways Afghans mark life changes (birth, death, marriage) as well as Ramadan traditions, again told through the women’s stories. Performed at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh in Oakland, at Alphabet City @ City of Asylum on the Northside, and for employees at PNC Bank downtown, in honor of Asian-American Awareness Month.
Thanks to you, all our shows were SOLD OUT, with wait lists of up to 70 people per show.
aLSO THANKS TO YOU, WE’VE RAISED OVER $2000 AS SEED MONEY FOR THE WOMEN !
But our Ioby campaign continues. Our goal is $5000 to provide this extraordinary group of Afghan refugees with the certifications, equipment and space they need to begin their journey to a thriving shared food business that all of Pittsburgh can enjoy.
Please consider a donation to support next steps for these amazing cooks!
AND THANK YOU, PITTSBURGH, FOR A RUN BEYOND ALL OUR WILDEST DREAMS!
If you are interested in bringing a performance of Khūrākī to your organization or business to enhance cultural awareness in your workplace, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commissioned by the Office of Public Art as part of their Artists in Residence program* and supported by Pittsburgh’s refugee resettlement community and many other partners, Khūrākī (meaning “eat” or “meal” in the Afghan language Dari) celebrates the beauty of Afghan culture, music, and food through “theatrical portraits” of five strong women who will forever be Afghan but have recently become Pittsburghers as well. What do they miss about their homeland? What have they been able to preserve in the flight from home–in their traditions, in their cooking, in their hearts? What do they hope to cultivate here in Pittsburgh? And what do they want you to know about the beautiful country where they were born?
For the events, professional actors chosen by the women themselves represent each woman, telling their stories while the women gain experience cooking Afghan dishes together for the audience, in commercial kitchens, in service to their central goal: to open the first Afghan food business in Pittsburgh. The cast includes Tressa Glover, Alex Manalo, Krystal Rivera, Kelly Trumbull, and Ashley Loren Williams.
Performances feature Afghan food prepared by the women, Afghan-inspired music (arranged and performed by graduate music students from Carnegie Mellon University) and moments of immersive cultural experience.
For more background on the project, please visit our news section.
Press and features on the event:
In addition to the Office of Public Art, our extraordinary partners for this project include: Becky Johnson, Refugee Resettlement consultant; NAMS Community Assistance and Refugee Resettlement Department (closed Dec. 2018); the City of Pittsburgh’s Welcoming Pittsburgh initiative and the Department of City Planning; La Dorita Kitchen Share; the students of CMU School of Music’s Audience Engagement class, taught by Director of Music Enterpreneurship Monique Mead and Jennie Dorris; New Sun Rising; The Union Project; The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh; City of Asylum; Jen Saffron, owner/ operator of Sprezzatura Catering; Pixelab Studios; Point Park University Theater and Cinema Departments; Allegheny County Department of Human Services; Shehady’s Carpets and Rugs; Katy Dement; Karen Hart; Aldo’s Foodservice; UHaul on Washington; and the Afghan community of Pittsburgh.
U-Haul @ Washington Blvd We thank this U-Haul location for their ongoing support as a project sponsor! Remember, your first month of storage is free at this U-Haul location!
At Aldo’s Foodservice, we believe in building community through food. By partnering with local restaurants, caterers, schools, and other businesses, our goal is to grow alongside our neighborhoods by tying our success directly to our community’s success. Started almost 70 years ago, Aldo’s is still truly a family owned-and-operated business. We take our motto, “You’re with family now!” to heart with every order we fulfill. Many things have changed in the Pittsburgh region since 1950, but Aldo’s family approach to business isn’t one of them. Phone: 724-378-7535
Thanks for being part of our most delicious RealTime Intervention yet.
*Office of Public Art residencies are produced with support by the City of Pittsburgh, The Fine Foundation, The Buhl Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Opportunity Fund, Pittsburgh Partners for the Arts, and the Our Town program of the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional funding support has been provided by a Community Development Block Grant and Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts.
Banner design: Allie Reefer.