Samah Hijawi

Kitchen. Table. is a multi-media research on the movement of food-making practices through migration and trade. Questions on food memory, and the influence of migrations which have contributed to the spread different food cultures around the world, and the labour of love in the kitchen in a post-capitalist society, as well as the unaccounted stories of more than human beings—of plants and animals with whom the story of food begins—are all central ideas from which this project develops.

Kitchen. Table.

Kitchen. Table. is a multi-media research on the movement of food-making practices through migration and trade. It is a project that tells the fantastically rich and intricate (his)stories connected to the culinary landscapes of the regions we live in, and how these have developed over time. Questions on food memory, and the influence of migrations which have contributed to the spread different food cultures around the world, and the labour of love in the kitchen in a post-capitalist society, as well as the unaccounted stories of more than human beings—of plants and animals with whom the story of food begins—are all central ideas from which this project develops.

Since 2020, these questions have been channeled through the three main herbs and seeds in Za'atar; which is central in the pantry of the eastern arab mediterranean kitchen: oergano, sesame and sumac. The project follows each of these herbs and seeds of Za'atar to unpack the stories, the people, the landscapes and the recipes that can be traced by following the life-line of a single plant.

Every iteration is an invitation to make intimate connections with food, the memories embodied in them, the time it takes to prepare a meal, and the stories of plant-beings who sustain our bodies and perpetuate life on this planet. This project tries to unlearn our commodified relationship to food, and unfolds the complex politics of the food on our tables.

This project is produced by Kunstenwerkplaats. Partners: Beursschouwburg, vierNullvier at Vooruit, Kaai Theater, A. M. Qattan Foundation and Monty. Funded by Vlaams Gemeenchaps, and Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie.

 

BIO

Samah Hijawi is a multi-media artist living in Brussels. Regardless of the form through which she materialises her work, her projects are always deeply rooted in history. Often the past is used to re-imagine contemporary life outside of the radicalised and polarised discourses that direct our lives today. In her recent project Kitchen. Table., she researches the movement of food practices over time and across geographies, and the relationship between plants and spirituality through astrology. The research materialises in performative dinners that map out the fantastic histories of the food on our tables.

Alongside the food research is an on-going project; Aesthetics of the Political, in which she explores how and artists' political position is embedded in the aesthetic choices of their work. This research has materialised over the years in many forms (performances, podcast, curated program) as well as developed as a workshop for art students who are engaged with social and political issues in their work.

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