oČAJavanje with neigbours, Gong Fu tea workshop
"oČajavanje with neigbours - Gong Fu tea workshop", Youth Culture Centre Ribnjak, Zagreb, 2023 (photo: Damir Kosir)

Gong fu is a way of sharing tea widespread in China, especially in South China. While in Croatia, as in most of Europe, “tea” is a popular name for concoctions made from various plants, in China tea, cha or teh is prepared from only one plant – Camellia sinensis. This plant enriched the nations along the Silk Road, and influenced the industrial revolution, but it was also at the center of colonial conflicts that Britain undertook against China.

At the oČajavanje* with Neighbors – Gong Fu Tea Workshop, held on February 25 in the Ribnjak Youth Center, participants learned how to use a gong fu tea set (cha shi). While preparing and drinking tea, they heard more about its historical, sociological, spiritual and artistic significance .

The gong fu way of sharing tea is a transcultural journey and a program of Living Atelier DK called Wandering Art – Tea Academy. Saturday’s event was part of the pilot program Meetings in the center financed through a special public call Culture and art in the community of the City of Zagreb. The workshop was also part of the program of the Communities of Learning platform, which brings together six organizations: What, How and for Whom / WHW and Living Atelier Dajht Kralj (Zagreb), kuda.org, (Novi Sad), Neue Nachbarschaft / Moabit e.V. (Berlin), State of Concept Athens (Athens) and the Association for Culture and Art Crvena (Sarajevo) with the aim of exchanging programs of independent and contemporary art production in which informal art education is emphasized.

*oČajavanje is a word game involving the Croatian word for tea (čaj). It is literally translated as “to despair” but in the spirit of the word game, it can also be loosely translated as TEAring.