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  • Andrea Strong

Art & Food are United in Nafas, a Brooklyn Festival beginning Sept 10th at the Invisible Dog.

Updated: Sep 5

A Nine Hour Persian Pickle Performance, a Solitude Dinner by Swedish artist Frida Foberg, a Bug Feast with chef Samuel Ezra Fisch, A (paper) Bánh mì workshop with Sherry Muyuan Hea, Creating a Musical Score Made of Fruit, Readings with Books are Magic and Events with MOFAD and more!

Build your Own Banh Mi from Paper is just one of the events that combines art with food during the Nafas Festival taking place for five weeks starting September 10th atBrooklyn's Invisible Dog Gallery



If you live in Boerum Hill, you probably know Lucien Zayan, the beloved and gregarious local mayor of Bergen Street who owns the Invisible Dog Art Center, an inviting, windowed storefront where he curates a collection of emerging talent for exhibitions, installations, and immersive experiences.



Four years ago Lucien developed a passion for cooking and became a chef in his own right, founding SAM (la Salle A Manger), a private dinning room where he cooks for his guests, artists and supporters of the arts center. His cooking leans into his heritage which is French by way of Egyptian Jew. He's probably one of the most talented chefs in New York City without a restaurant (hint hint.) Anyway, Lucien has long been thinking about combining his two passions — art and food — and has now curated a five-week festival around the theme of food called NAFAS that will be opening on September 10th.


Nafas takes its name from the Arabic word for a breath or a spirit. But in the context of cooking, Nafas is much more than that. “It’s the energy some people possess that makes their meals not only good but exceptional,” wrote cookbook author Reem Kassis.


Nafas includes a group exhibition of 35 visual artists who are all working with and around food. In their painting, sculpture, drawing, video, installation, photography, embroidery, writing, cuisine and performance, they bring this indefinable breath that makes their art exceptional.



From a watermelon that represents the ban of the Palestinian flag, to a picnic that takes place on either side of the California-Mexico border, from a plastic grocery store to art made out of flour and accidentally eaten by mice, these visual art pieces will use food to mirror the present moment. While artists are mostly using a representation of food, some are actually using real food like Maya Yadid (bread), Oliver Jeffers (nuts), Peter Treiber (arty food stand - he is artist and farmer).


The exhibition will also include a series of performances which will of course include real food: a bug dinner by chef Samual Ezra Fisch, Foodmasku a live performance of a couple having dinner with food served on people wearing food masks, and the performance will culminate with the diners wearing food masks themselves while “dining in”; the musical score made with fruit by Marisa Tornello, the Persian Pickle a nine-hour long performance, and the JBE book party where Sunset Cocktails will be served. There’s also an evening of readings in partnership with Books are Magic, a movie night with Marco Ferreri’s "La Grande Bouffe" and Jan Svankmajer’s short animation “Food," plus a couple of events in collaboration with the Museum of Food and Drink, and a “solitude dinner” by Swedish artist Frida Foberg.


The full program is here. Hope to see some of you there!



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