Open Daily: 9AM-4PM
Wednesday 16 – Monday 21 November
SET Lewisham

Private View: 16 November 6-8.30PM

CONGEE is an installation by artist Alastair Kwan and F.A.T. Studio, which will transform SET Lewisham project space into a canteen serving Hong Kong style congee. The canteen will be open for five days between 9am-4pm, where Alastair will be cooking and serving Hong-Kong style congee: a savoury rice porridge dish widely eaten across East Asia. CONGEE will also play host to a programme of events from other artists and local organisations, which can be booked via eventbrite (link on our website). Through CONGEE, the space will become a meeting point, engaging the local community in Lewisham, East South-East Asian diaspora, and celebrating the amazing diversity of London’s neighbourhoods.

This project brings together research and art around congee inspired by Alastair's own experiences and memories of growing up British Born Chinese. It draws on the cultural importance of food within immigrant communities, and how small restaurants and businesses become a focal point for the diaspora community. Congee shows the best characteristics of Cantonese food; simple, resourceful, warm, cheap, back-to-essentials and tasty. For some people congee will be a familiar dish; they might have had it growing up, and have struggled to find it in London. For others, congee will be a new experience.


Private View – Wednesday 16 Nov 6–8:30PM
The Sisterhood Health Event with BAME women's group The Sisterhood – Thursday 17 Nov 6:30–8:30PM
Co-working Lunch Club with Creative Network OKR – Friday 18 Nov 12:30–2PM
Game Party: Congee Playtesting with games designer William Wong – Saturday 19 Nov 5–7PM
Scent from Memories: Corsage Arranging Workshop with artists Polam Chan and Janice Lam – Sunday 20 Nov 4–5:30PM
Arts Freelancer Breakfast Club with (LEAN) Lewisham Educational Arts Network – Monday 21 Nov 9:30–11AM



“ Through a temporary congee canteen I wanted to transform the white cube art space into a comfortable environment for people in the local area and more generally in London to meet, eat and relax. Together with F.A.T. Studio we've been able to host a free programme of events allowing others to host their own events and workshops at the canteen. There are a few reasons why I wanted to cook congee: it is cheap and resourceful - and would be relatively easy to cook large quantities to serve people at relatively low cost at a time when everything feels so expensive. We also operate a pay forward token system, allowing people to pay for others to eat for free. It is deeply personal to me and my cultural identity - it is something that connects me to Hong Kong - and I would eat it every time I went back to visit my grandparents who sadly passed away during last year. I hope that other members of Asian and diaspora communities in Lewisham would be able to connect with the project, as they might be familiar with or have heard of congee, which is a food that is relatively common in places like Hong Kong, but difficult to get here. As an artist I want people to get a sense of my own journey as a British Born Hong Kong person, and hopefully find elements in the food, or the canteen setup that they can connect with.”

© Alastair Kwan 2022