Banglatown to be subject of food-themed art installation

Detroit's Banglatown neighborhood is the focus of a theatrical installation set to run this coming Labor Day weekend. On Friday, September 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. and Sunday, September 5, from 5 to 9 p.m., Washington, D.C.-based artist Carmen C. Wong will offer "Tactile Taste of Banglatown." The event will take place at Play House, 12657 Moran St. in Detroit.

The guided, interactive experience will use food and audio to tell the stories of Banglatown, a neighborhood named for its large population of Bangladeshi immigrants and businesses. According to Model D contributing writer and former managing editor Walter Wasacz, Banglatown is the intersection of that immigrant population and a buzzing community of artists.

Writes Wasacz:
"A sweeping, largely organic revitalization of Conant began with Bangladeshi businesses (some of them, like Amar Pizza, have received national media attention). In 2008, a roughly one-mile stretch Conant from Davison south to Caniff in Hamtramck was given an honorary designation as Bangladesh Avenue. The strip is lively day and night, filled with green grocers, halal butchers, restaurants, and clothing shops. The air on its side streets fill daily with the aromas of curries and other spices.

The origins of Banglatown are here, but so to are the origins of a growing creative community that blends intentional art and design strategies with organic immigrant residential and commercial redevelopment."

Wong stayed at nearby Power House Productions over three separate periods to learn the stories and recipes of Banglatown residents. For Wong's Banglatown "gastro-performance," she'll be serving the foods she picked up on in the area, from fusion stews to "the perfect cup of tea."

According to organizers, Wong is a self-proclaimed avant-pop provocateur. Her "Tactile Taste of Banglatown" is part of a larger series of gastro-performances that have already occurred in Washington, D.C. and Finland. Detroit's Power House Productions commissioned "Tactile Taste of Banglatown" and is presenting it along arts ensemble the Hinterlands.

Over the 2-day event, up to 15 visitors at a time will be guided through the installation, where they'll experience Banglatown by sight, sound, taste, and more. It's an informative picnic-meets-playground, one that runs every half hour. Tickets are limited and can be reserved via phone, 313-454-1756, or email, [email protected], with a $5 to $10 suggested donation as a price.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.