Tea for Five, Opium Clippers – Neja Tomšič


Within the framework of : E.city – Ljubljana

Neja Tomšič Tea for Five, 2017

Neja Tomšič, through her performance, questionned how tea has changed life in the cities with the first appearance of commercial structures in the middle of the 18th century to nowadays. Our comfort and quality of life depends heavily on maritime shipping, which we know very little about.

During this performance, the participants were invited to live an escape-from-time experience by being introduced to a tea ceremony and immersed in its history.

The Opium Clippers is a visual essay joining hand painted ceramics and performance. The central part of the project are five hand painted custom made ceramics tea sets depicting the history of tea and opium trade from mid 18th to late 19th century in China. The history of the opium fleet isn’t just a look at this historic period, but it also explains and ties together the implications for the general understanding of political and social conditions today. Optionally, the exhibition can be accompanied by a Chinese tea ceremony during which each visitor is served tea in an individual tea set and the history of each ship is explained.