Be My Guest

“A dish is not just the sum of its parts, it is its maker, its occasion, the company in which it is eaten.” — Priya Basil, Be My Guest: Reflections on Food, Community and the Meaning of Generosity (2019)


Courtesy of BTS / Big Hit Entertainment (left), Kiera Boult, Kiki as The Star, 2017 (right).

Be My Guest

March 21 – June 6, 2021
Monthly open-forum food and beverage series
Online via Zoom

Featuring Kiera Boult, Claudia Mattos, Rea McNamara, Elaine Tin Nyo, Jazmín Urrea, Monica Uszerowicz

Curated by Noor Alé.

This series of casual conversations brings together artists, writers, and curators who will speak about notions of community, spirituality, and ethics through mediated engagements with food and drink pairings. For each conversation, participants will receive a menu with instructions to gather affordable ingredients in order to prepare the recipes.

In our first conversation, LA-based artist Jazmín Urrea will discuss her practice’s engagement with the presence of food deserts—areas with limited access to nearby affordable grocery stores—and the ways it impacts Latinx communities in LA. Urrea will also be problematizing the trope of the American Dream in 90 Day Fiancé, a reality TV show that follows international couples through the complications of obtaining their K-1 fiancé visa. Writers Claudia Mattos, Rea McNamara, and Monica Uszerowicz are fans of BTS—Bangtan Boys, a seven-member South Korean boy band—and they will speak about care as it relates to this global fandom phenomenon. Kiera Boult will read tarot cards and teach us how to make markikis—her version of a dirty martini. Lastly, Elaine Tin Nyo will chat about the ethics of consuming animals.

All events are free, menus will be emailed to the registrants in advance. Recipes can be altered to accommodate health needs. For links to register, please visit click here. If registrants have any questions, please contact Matthew Kyba, Curator of Exhibitions at


Installation view of Jazmín Urrea, Red 40, 2017, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos bags, Xerox prints of Rellerindos, Jabalina, and Dedos. Photo Credit: Raphael Hernandez

Mucho y Más: Antojitos con Jazmín Urrea:
Sunday, March 21 at 3:30 pm

Jazmín Urrea will discuss her installation practice’s critique of food deserts in her hometown of LA. Additionally, Urrea will share her thoughts on 90 Day Fiancé through an analysis of four couples whose lives were documented before, during, and after acquiring a K-1 fiancé visa in the US.

Jazmín Urrea’s multimedia practice examines symbols prevalent in Latinx communities. She received her MFA in Photography and Media from the California Institute of the Arts. Urrea’s work was exhibited at the CURRENT:LA Public Art Triennial, Studio Museum in Harlem, and J. Paul Getty Museum.

Kocktails with Kiki:
Saturday, April 17 at 7:30 pm

Kiki welcomes viewers to take a seat at her kitchen table for hot gossip and kocktails. During this iteration of Kocktails with Kiki, she will be sharing her secret recipe for success: markikis (dirty gin martini) and tarot cards, walking viewers through the basics of how to read the cards and the pleasures of brine.

Kiera Boult is an interdisciplinary artist from Hamilton. She employs camp and comedy to address issues that surround the role and identity of the artist and the institution. She holds a BFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD. Her work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Hamilton, and Trinity Square Video.


Elaine Tin Nyo, The Beast Menu, 2009, edition of 16 hand-typed menus, dinner of beasts, singing rabbits, a dancing bear and a circus dog, held in the studio of Michael Ballou, Brooklyn, NY.

Food ethics with Elaine Tin Nyo:
Sunday, May 16 at 12 pm

Conceptual artist, writer, and cook Elaine Tin Nyo invites you for a virtual visit to a rustic french cooking school—The Kitchen at Camont—to chat about our complex relationship with our non-human relatives: pets, domestic livestock, zoo animals and wild animals. How do they define us? Why are some so cute? Why are some so delicious?

Elaine Tin Nyo is a conceptual artist with a kitchen and a studio in the southwest of France who employs food as a vehicle to explore issues of mortality and responsibility. Her work was presented at MoMA, Victoria & Albert Museum, and Brooklyn Museum.

Pandemic ARMY: Reflecting on BTS’s Parasocial Kinship:
Sunday, June 6 at 7:00 pm

To be ARMY—which yes, actually stands for “Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth”—is to be amongst the millions and millions of loyal and passionate fans of BTS, who debuted in June 2013. Over a special Korean-inspired cocktail, curator Claudia Mattos, writer, curator and public programmer Rea McNamara and writer and photographer Monica Uszerowicz talk bias, fan cams, and #StayConnected hashtags in order to understand what it means to be “Pandemic ARMY”.

Claudia Mattos is a curator and art historian based in Miami, Florida. She is the Director at the gallery David Castillo, Miami. She has contributed to curatorial research at The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and Independent Curators International.

Rea McNamara is a writer, curator and public programmer based in Toronto. Her work has been presented at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Art Gallery of Toronto, and Nuit Blanche Toronto. She has written for Hyperallergic, frieze, Art in America, and Art F City.

Monica Uszerowicz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Miami, Florida. Her writing has appeared in Artforum, The Believer, BOMB, Burnaway, Cultured, Hyperallergic, and her photographs have been exhibited globally.

About the VAC
The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington (VAC) is a not for profit public art gallery and art education centre located in Bowmanville, ON. The VAC has a 45-year history of community engagement, connecting people of all ages and backgrounds in a creative place for artmaking and learning.

Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, 143 Simpson Avenue, Bowmanville, Ontario, L1C 2H9

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