Dinner and Performance Series Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago Sound, Video, Clay 2007
The spiritual and artistic dialogue between Black and Japanese arts is at the core of Theaster Gates art practice and expression. This cultural collision finds its roots in the mythical Yamaguchi Story, in which Gates first meets the legendary Japanese ceramicist Shoji Yamaguchi when visiting family in a pottery town in Mississippi. Shoji and his wife May, a black civil rights activist, would host an event called Plate Convergences, during which guests from all walks of life came to eat Southern cuisine on Yamaguchis ceramic plates specifically designed for the food of black people. The ritual fostered open exchanges about racial and social tension within a setting of sharing and is revitalized by Gates Soul Food ceremonies today.