November 2022


From the editor

Nneka Jackson

Delight. Glee. A practice of loving and gratitude.

This is an exploration of joy and its dynamism. Stunning multimedia contributions from across the United States, the UK, and Jamaica come together amidst the richness of contentment and adoration. The things we create in the odyssey transform our existence as we survive. The sustenance is the texturing, and so there are recipes to inspire culinary meditation and mindfulness.

Thank you to the contributing artists - each has fashioned Joy into their makings in meditative, fertile ways. In this issue, Chris and Lisa Binns of Jamaica’s beloved Stush in the Bush share reflections of joy through poetry, prose, and a treasured recipe. Shanice of out of many Studio guides us through a multi-sensory journey, gently igniting each sense in satisfaction. Filmmaker Summer Eldemire shares the quest for happiness through a short film and doughnuts. Sara Elise shares ancestral, indigenous ties through sacred corn. Zakiya McKenzie takes us on a romp through her Jamaican childhood with plums. Reneice Charles provides us with the tender recipes she shares in a community practice of love and gratitude. Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey’s cucumber salads provide dynamism in love, capturing the thoughtfully erotic.

Joy is vital. It presentsa celebration of humanity and how food punctuates our lives. Some ancestral rituals preserve community and are an ode to multiplicity and the shared understandings to be nurtured there.

A snapshot of my ruminations on joy comes to me in re-imagined memory:

Box Lunch

She sat, legs open on the step of the sixth form lounge, a cosy place for the eldest at the all-girls school to convalesce between classes. She hungrily licked her lips, eager to dig into the warm contents of the styrofoam half container. Brandishing a plastic fork, she opened the lid to fried chicken, a glistening leg and thigh, and a small salad of shredded carrot and cabbage sitting on top of still-steaming rice and peas. The rice’s creamy coconut smell mingled with the hot, spiced smell of the just-fried chicken made her mouth water. She buried her fork in rice, spearing chicken, and brought it to her lips, eagerly pushing it through her lips. As she chewed, a smile settled over her lips, sweet gratitude making its way through her belly.

To the exploration.

Active Cultures is a cultural organization that explores the convergence of food and art in contemporary life.