Can an food outlet actually double as an art project? In the case of Conflict Kitchen, yes. And it’s generated some important political conversations along with it.
The restaurant, located in Pittsburgh, serves up cuisine from countries with which the United States is in a state of conflict. That includes places like North Korea, Cuba and Iran, among others.
Here’s a piece I caught on BBC News that first got me thinking:
“Our goal is to create a larger discourse with the countries we’re in conflict with,” says Conflict Kitchen co-director Jon Rubin.
But it’s the post on their website that qualifies as Pizza for Good’s #QuotableMonday entry. A major kerfuffle erupted when CK passed out fliers with a recent Palestinian-food offering; some objected to the content being excessively pro-Palestinian. As a result, Heinz bowed to outside pressure and pulled funding.
“Promoting understanding is at the core of Conflict Kitchen’s mission. We have demonstrated this in the past by presenting the food, culture, and viewpoints of Iranians, Afghans, Cubans, North Koreans, and Venezuelans. We believe that presenting the viewpoints of Palestinians promotes understanding of Palestinians.
Protecting freedom of expression from the influence of biased media and powerful political and lobbying groups is essential for the cultural and political health of a democratic society. We are extremely upset that one of Pittsburgh’s most important arts and culture funders would disavow their grant to us when seemingly pressured by strong outside forces.”
No matter what your viewpoint is on this, it’s always important for all sides to keep talking. And that’s exactly what Conflict Kitchen is engendering. Bravo.