Battersea Arts Centre presents an evening of Portuguese cuisine with Xavier de Sousa

Fancy an evening of exploring Portuguese national identity at a kitchen table while eating a traditional Portuguese dish and drinking cachaca?

On March 18-22 Xavier de Sousa is inviting you to do just that at the Battersea Arts Centre.

The food is prepared every night by Xavier and is a traditional rural Portuguese recipe called Caldo Verde, which has deep roots in one of the poorest areas of the country – Minho.

It is made with kale and potatoes originally from the north-west regions of the country, the soup and recipe has spread across Portugal over the past 600 years.

Also on the menu is Cachaça, a potent but sweet Brazilian spirit which is perfect to whet your appetite in time for the soup.

On the night, Xavier will play host and discuss the idea of what it is to exist in the UK today and how we relate to people from different background, while encouraging his audience to enjoy the delicious Portuguese cuisine on offer.

Xavier said: “It was essentially my way of re-gaining some sense, some pride and joy in the world and lived experience that being a migrant provides you with.

So I looked at my own personal history and the history of the countries that I inhabit and how they are composed.

I wanted to create a show that utilises the act of ‘hosting’ and ‘welcoming’ as a performance method but also the collective representation of voices that provide distinct ways at looking at a nation”.

Xavier’s work will also include a queer perspective, he added: “Historically, certain Western capitals have become homes for the queer dispora.

New York and its vibrant subcultures of the 1980s have brought queerness to the mainstream, whilst London and Berlin continue to host queer-led spaces actively positioning themselves on the front line against hetero-patriarchal norma-tivity and racist gentrification.

“These communities have been built over generations by the locally born queers in constant dialogue with international queers who travelled across the world to find safety and community in these cities.

Most who travelled to the UK did so to escape both family and the state oppressions on their ability to live, as well as trying to escape war and social persecutions.”

Xavier came to London 11 years ago and grew up listening to British bands.

His exhibition will look back through history and at specific traditions and identities that are part of both Portugal and England’s identity, deconstructs them and asks pertinent questions.

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