Opium Clippers

Tea for Five: Opium Clippers is a visual essay joining the history of ownership, sea routes and events connected to the opium clippers and how the trade of ‘exotic goods’ facilitated the historical and cultural flourishing of American and British cities.

Tea for Five: Opium Clippers is a visual essay merging hand painted ceramics and a tea ritual. The central part of the project are five hand painted ceramic tea sets based on traditional Chinese gongfu tea sets. The work Tea for Five, though, takes the form of a happening, a Chinese tea ceremony, during which Neja Tomšič tells stories about forgotten episodes in the story of the Chinese dream that resulted in conflict and colonisation. As the story of the opium clippers unfolds, the tea ritual reveals an understanding of the profound consequences that the tea and opium trade had on the political world today.

Neja Tomšič (1982) is a visual artist, poet and writer whose interdisciplinary practice joins research, drawing, storytelling and performance. She also works as a curator and producer. She is a co-founder of the production and research platform MoTA – Museum of Transitory Art and a member of the Nonument Group. She lives and works in Ljubljana.

In cooperation with Summer Puppet Pier Festival.

Crossings Festival
visual essay
Concept, painting and performance:
Neja Tomšič
Anja Slapničar
Gašper Torkar
Glej Theatre and Neja Tomšič
Production until 2018:
Zisha – tea house