March 19, 2012 – Tea Project performance in conjunction with Enemy Kitchen by Michael Rakowitz in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Greg Broseus) via aaronhughes.org
Porcelain cups used in The Tea Project
The Tea Project gallery installation
Artists Aaron Hughes and Amber Ginsburg discuss The Tea Project, a project that grew out of Aaron’s encounters with tea, and being offered tea, while deployed in Kuwait and Iraq as a member of the Illinois Army National Guard. The Tea Project takes a variety of forms, but it’s centered around a performance in which a small audience comes together with Aaron for a discussion over tea. During the performance stories are shared and tea is served in special porcelain cups made together by Amber and Aaron. The cups are cast to resemble the styrofoam cups given to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, which the prisoners often decorated with flowers and arabesques. For The Tea Project, Amber and Aaron made over 700 of these porcelain cups, one to represent every person held at Guantanamo. The project hopes to create a space for discussion and reflection on issues ranging from detention and Islamophobia to racism and human rights.
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