Kent Fish & Chips Project means food for thought

Detail from The Kent Fish & Chips Project

Detail from The Kent Fish & Chips Project - Credit: Olivier Kugler /Andrew Humphreys/Turner Contemporary/Counterpoint Arts

National Refugee Week, running from 14 to 20 June, is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Turner Contemporary in Margate is making its contribution to the festival via a lively new show organised with Counterpoints Arts, which supports and produces arts projects by and about migrants and refugees. Entitled The Kent Fish & Chips Project, the show features the work of London-based editorial illustrator Olivier Kugler and journalist Andrew Humphreys. Together they've interviewed and illustrated owners, staff and customers at fish & chips shops across Kent, discovering ways in which migration has touched their  - and our - lives.

One of those featured is Jack Kamenou, owner of the Reliance Fish Restaurant, Gravesend, whose family is originally from Cyprus. His great uncle came over to the UK in 1947 and bought the first chippie in Lambeth Walk, London, with other family members buying shops elsewhere in the capital and in Birmingham. Jack's family opened his shop in 1987. “Fish & chips is in our family and I love doing what we do. I love meeting new people and every day is a different, " says Jack.

The extent to which migration involves everyone is gently revealed through words,  pictures and stories - from life-long customer Christophe Bull, whose mother came over from Germany as a refugee in 1948 and whose first British meal was fish & chips, to depictions of the foods we eat that have 'migrated' to the UK from other countries.


Says Almir Koldzic, Director of Counterpoints Arts,  "Fish and Chips came to the UK from refugees and immigrants. and we want to share everyday stories of migration today. It as a central part of our history and culture and makes us who we are as a nation."

Adds Jack Kamenou, "I think this art project was a very good idea. I love the picture that they’ve done of me, my shop and my customers. It’s good for people to see local history and how immigration is linked to the fish and chip shops.”

See the exhibition for yourself at turnercontemporary.org.uk

For more arts stories from Kent see here

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