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What a Kallaloo
August 25, 2018 – October 21, 2018
I heard that it would make you strong, they convinced me that is was good for you, some said that it could bring you good favor in the new year. Either way, a huge pot of it would be on the stove leading up to Old Year’s Night. Like clockwork, relatives would blow up the phone lines in order to have their share delivered, stored, or shipped. I, on the other hand, was not impressed. I preferred a McDonald’s Happy Meal, at least that came with a toy.
The leaf based stew known as Kallaloo, (or Callaloo) is a staple throughout many Caribbean countries. The delicacy is known by a plethora of names and appears in various forms. The dish often incorporates a mix of vegetables paired with meats, seafood, or both. While a true recipe is elusive, most are certain that its roots trace back to West Africa.
“What a Kallaloo” is an exploration of postcolonialism through the lens of West Indian cuisine. It contemplates notions of authorship, assimilation, and improvisation.
Hasani Sahlehe grew up in a four-generation home in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He was raised by his grandmother and among his many relatives, several of whom were musicians, educators, artists, and fervent preservers of local history and culture.
Sahlehe graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2015. His practice, keenly centered on color and exploring the possibilities of the body of paint, seeks to engage the spiritual through the material. He sees his paintings as bearers of human memory, emotion, and presence. Sahlehe’s work is rooted in abstraction, embracing a broad array of cultural practices, including color field painting, neo-expressionism, ancient and indigenous architecture and writing, and the syncretic, often improvised nature of hip hop,
Sahlehe is a recipient of a 2023 Macdowell Fellowship. He has exhibited internationally and has had solos at SCAD Museum of Art, Adams and Ollman in Portland, OR, Tops Gallery in Memphis, TN, and Gallery 12.26, in Dallas, TX among others