FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MUSEUM OF FOOD AND DRINK (MOFAD) ANNOUNCES ‘KNIGHTS OF THE RAJ NYC’ INSTALLATION 
OPENING FRIDAY, JULY 20

On View Three Weekends Only, The Untold Story Behind New York City’s Curry Pioneers Includes Immersive Arts Experiences, Walk-In Diorama, Live Performances, and a Three-Course Sampler Menu of Bangladeshi Street Foods and British-Style Curries

British artist brings an immersive after-hours culinary experience to Brooklyn revealing previously untold stories.
 
WHAT:  NEW YORK, July 10, 2018—Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD), New York’s first museum with exhibits visitors can eat, today announces the opening of Knights of the Raj NYC, a participatory short-run art installation and culinary experience by award-winning street artist and curator Mohammed Ali. The special after-hours exhibition will last three weekends only beginning Friday, July 20, 2018. Advance booking is recommended – tickets available via the MOFAD website.
Following a ground-breaking documentation of the history of curry in England, Mohammed Ali now invites visitors into his reimagined, multi-site version of Knights of the Raj at MOFAD and throughout New York City, home to about half of the nearly 60,000 Bangladeshis—the fastest growing Asian American subgroup— living in the United States today. In addition to the MOFAD exhibition, informal community gatherings and intimate artist-led dinners at locations throughout the city are programmed in preparation for Ali’s larger New York City exhibition in 2019.
 
This timely window into a hidden world invites visitors to experience South Asian flavors while absorbing the true stories behind what first led Bengali migrants to New York. Step into another world as we explore how they journeyed from their homeland in Bangladesh to the United Kingdom’s Brick Lane full of “curry houses”, to New York’s own Curry Hill, and to the Bangladeshi biryani carts and street food vendors seen today throughout Jackson Heights.
Like many other first-generation immigrants, Ali is on a quest to better understand his own identity. His work explores how people like his late father left their homelands on a quest to find a new life, taking with them their food and thereby transforming national cuisines and cultures. Ali is already well known internationally for his street art and collaborative projects, which seek to connect disparate communities. He first gained recognition under the moniker Aerosol Arabic. Ali is of Bangladeshi heritage and was born in the United Kingdom. He was first personally drawn to the stories of Diaspora communities in his home country, England, and is now deepening his research after noticing many similarities between the Bangladeshi communities in the U.K. and in the US. 

 Knights of the Raj NYC visitors can expect:

  • An immersive arts, heritage, and culinary experience
  • Insight into deeply personal narratives directly from Bangladeshi migrants
  • A three-course sampler menu of Bangladeshi street foods and British-style curries
  • Traditional Bangladeshi music performed live and juxtaposed with filmed interviews and archival footage from New York City (opening weekend only!)
  • A walk-in diorama featuring found and sourced objects from the New York City Bangladeshi migrant communities who help sustain the restaurant trade

Knights of the Raj NYC will also feature chef-designed tastings that highlight British curry house food during the day—12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. from Friday through Sunday—and Bangladeshi culinary techniques and traditional recipes in the evening—6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. from Friday through Sunday, on the three select weekends in July and August the exhibition is on display. MOFAD Culinary Studio chefs will prepare authentic recipes donated by chefs and home cooks from the Bangladeshi community, which will be served to Knights of the Raj NYC visitors exclusively during this special exhibition. Each weekend, Knights of the Raj NYC will feature a different recipe.

From the artist and curator, Mohammed Ali:
       In an increasingly polarized society, I’m seeking new ways to connect people. Food breaks down barriers. We often take for granted how migrant communities’ foods enhance the cuisine of entire nations. We may have tasted dishes from around the world, but how much do we really know about the people who serve us?
 
WHEN:  Friday, July 20 – Sunday, August 5
6:30 PM – 10:00 PM nightly with last timed entry at 9:25 PM
  Opens Friday, July 20, 2018 at 7:30 PM to the public
              Advance preview for VIP, Press, Friends & Family on July 20 at 6:30 PM
              On view weekends only: July 20; July 21; July 22; July 27; July 28; July 
              29; August 3: August 4 and August 5
              
WHERE: Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD)
                62 Bayard Street
                Brooklyn, NY 11222
 
TICKETS: Tickets for timed entry to Knights of the Raj NYC can be purchased at https://www.mofad.org/knights-of-the-raj-nyc and at the door of MOFAD Lab, where the exhibition is on view on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting at 6:30 p.m. each night with the last viewing available at 9:25 p.m.
 
Contact:
Richard Baddeley
richard@soulcityarts.com
(929) 350 4093
 
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FUNDING AND BACKGROUND: Knight of the Raj NYC is presented thanks to a special partnership between the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD), U.K. Arts organization Soul City Artsand Washington, DC based nonprofit Words Beats & LifeWords Beats & Life, Inc. (WBL) is the presenter of Knights of the Raj NYC, as part of their two-year initiative, “From Sifrs to Ciphers: Hip-Hop is Muslim”, which received generous support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding for Knights of the Raj NYC was provided by WBL and Soul City Arts’ communities of individuals and institutions, including in-kind support from community groups Jhal NYC, Bengali Harlem, Flushing Town Hall, and Vivek Bald.
 
ABOUT MOFAD: The Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) is a new kind of museum that brings the world of food to life with exhibits you can taste, touch, and smell. We inspire public curiosity about food, what it means, and how it connects with the world around us. As the world’s premier food museum and a global educational resource, MOFAD engages curious eaters of all ages and backgrounds through its exhibitions and educational programming. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit currently operates MOFAD Lab, a 5,000-square-foot experimental space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant is currently on show.

ABOUT WORDS BEATS & LIFE: Words Beats & Life, Inc. (WBL) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit made up of unapologetic advocates for the transformative power of Hip-Hop culture in all its forms, empowering artists to relentlessly create and refine systems that demonstrate positive change through creativity. The organization is based in Washington, DC and provides critical opportunities for Hip-Hop artists, scholars, practitioners, educators, and activists. We produce the world’s only academic peer-reviewed journal of Hip-Hop, embracing the sacred nature of roles as keepers and innovators of our culture. Our events and programs bring together diverse communities from the United States and around the globe. For more information, visit wblinc.org or follow us @wordsbeatslife