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Aspen Art Museum


The Illicit Gin Institute program by Zina Saro-Wiwa

Aug 5, 2021
2:00 PM
Registration Required

Location to be shared upon registration

Register your interest here.

Join Zina Saro-Wiwa for the final iteration of the Illicit Gin Institute, which will be a “Silent Prekese Picnic.” Prekese (also known as Aidan Fruit) is a pod that is a species of the pea family and is grown on the Aidan Fruit tree. It is used mostly in savory soups and sometimes teas across West Africa, but it smells like toasted caramel and vanilla. Regarded as highly medicinal with many scientifically-documented health benefits, it is one of Saro-Wiwa’s favorite botanicals. The picnic, which will take place in a beautiful, bucolic setting near the museum, will be conducted in a warm and friendly silence. Attendees are invited to wander in, interact with prekese pods, and taste Saro-Wiwa’s deliciously ambrosial vegan prekese ice creams served with chocolate sauce spiked with clove gin and fresh strawberries. Other tree-related gins and savory treats will be offered. The observed silence is in service of the prekese itself, which, according to the artist, will allow the botanical to do the talking and encourage participants to engage with the unknown from a place of openness, humility, and meditative contemplation. A chance to listen to trees speak within you.

Zina Saro-Wiwa is an artist working in video, photography, sculpture, sound, and food. She lives and works in Los Angeles, and runs a practice in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, where her experimental distillery is based and where she founded the contemporary art gallery, Boys’ Quarters Project Space.

The Illicit Gin Institute is a radical creative think tank dedicated to exploring African moonshine, particularly a Nigerian palm wine spirit historically known as “Illicit Gin” that is made by distilling the fermented palm “wine” tapped from the raffia palm tree. Created by Saro-Wiwa, the Illicit Gin Institute develops projects that explore the storytelling and regenerative potential of this palm wine spirit through artist-driven events, foods featuring the gin and botanicals, and a podcast.