Parramatta Lanes is a festival held annually in Parramatta’s CBD, where 12 streets are shut down and filled with food, art and live entertainment. In 2020 the festival went digital with an online broadcast, streamed nightly from 7pm, 17 – 21 November filled with arts, music and words. WestWords was commissioned to present a series of stories and poems about food. Each work was set against a backdrop of 3D visuals to match by projection artist and animator Junee Lee

Children of Chai by Aishah Ali
Explore the power and role of tea within different migrant communities with a poem by Aishah Ali, who uses the making of “Chai” as a metaphor for the Fijian-Indian existence that has brewed over the years; a form of remembrance of home, cultivation of family and a means capture the essence of belonging to one’s community. She paints this liquid warmth as a gentle beckoning, a familiarity that lines the streets of Parramatta and across the west and connects us to not only a pocket of home but ultimately to each other.

Breadmaking for fun and profit by James Roy
This short piece by James Roy gently walks the reader through the common practice of baking fresh bread in preparation for an open house, and the place that bread, that most universal of foods, plays in our collective psyche as a trigger for happy memories, feelings of comfort and the safety of the family home. It suggests that in addition to being a subconscious positive trigger, good food (like warm bread) is also a comfort food for tough times, such as moving out of a much-loved home…

Emotional Eating by Christina Donoghue
A poem that comes in three courses, Christina Donoghue’s Emotional Eating reflects on the physical and visceral sense that food symbolises in our lives. Inspired by her own experiences of growing up in a household without flavour. Irish Catholic working-class people, who would often put the food in the pot and let it boil away for hours transforming the fresh green into grey slop, the poem meditates on class, culture and connections, dwelling on the sensory and food as a physical manifesto of that.

If you want to see, hear and enjoy more from Parralanes 2020 click here

Parralanes is presented by