Soul Refresher (Mountain Rose Soda) has been produced for the Brent Biennial 2020 by Abbas Zahedi in collaboration with Square Root Soda Works as a limited edition of 3000 bottles. This drink is a reminder and an offering that exists in various spaces and ways. It intends to encourage new dialogues about our social, political and emotional connections to food, drink and care.
Its vessel and contents document a palpable landscape, charting the numerous gatherings and self-organised projects, which the artist established and attended; whilst organising community projects in the London Borough of Brent. Central to the work is an attention to how we form and exit communities, how our personal and collective histories interweave, and the service and care required to host one another throughout this process.
The majority of these drinks will be distributed throughout the borough by Sufra Food Bank, a local charity that the artist helped to establish in 2013, so as to address both the causes and consequences of impoverishment in Brent. Based on St. Raphael’s Estate, our most disadvantaged neighbourhood, Sufra's Community Hub provides a life-line for people in crisis – including families living in extreme poverty and people who are vulnerable, homeless and socially isolated.
A limited number of Soul Refreshers will also be available to purchase at a series of local sites, including Arianna II in Kilburn, and also via the Square Root Soda Works. This commission extends Zahedi's long term commitment to community organising in the borough including involvement with Rumi’s Cave, South Kilburn Studios and The Music Rooms Wembley.
Abbas Zahedi is a London based artist, known for his interdisciplinary blend of social practice, performance, installation, moving-image, institution-building and writing. His practice emerged out of working with migrant and marginalised communities in the UK to explore the concept of neo-diaspora, and the ways in which personal and collective histories interweave.
Zahedi is the ninth South London Gallery Postgraduate artist in residence (2019-2020). Recent exhibitions and performances include South London Gallery; Spike Island, Bristol; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Wolverhampton Art Gallery, UK; and the 57th Venice Biennale, Italy. Recent workshops, lectures and residency projects include Raven Row, London; Wysing Arts Centre, UK; Tate Britain and Tate Exchange, UK. Zahedi was awarded a School for Social Entrepreneurs (PwC) Fellowship in 2017 for his community work in the UK.
Supported by Art Fund.
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Photography courtesy of Thierry Bal