On Foraging: Food Knowledge and Environmental Imaginaries in the UAE's Landscape

On Foraging: Food Knowledge and Environmental Imaginaries in the UAE's Landscape

To forage is to search for potential in a landscape, spurred on by a lingering sense of the unknown. On Foraging explores the nuances of what it means to be in constant search of nurturing and feeding, for the individual and the collective, within seemingly arid environments. On Foraging explores the long and multifaceted history of an environment that has for generations fed its own people and others in a rich variety of ways. There are deep reserves of cultural and agricultural knowledge that have been passed down through generations that continue to be tapped into and added to today and On Foraging reveals the work that goes into unearthing the landscape through a confluence of personal and collective narratives. Our project  foregrounds these moments and for what it means to nurture across multiple scales. 

Our research and conversations have illuminated three entangled registers in which food knowledge performs. First, we discovered how domestic food production in private farms reveals narratives of intergenerational learning and kinship. Second, we identified how entrepreneurial farming, including organic, hydroponic, and oyster farming, creates alternative food narratives within arid environments. Finally, we observed the ways in which the supply of produce is addressed and confronted at the national register, specifically around the development of language that suggests a collective responsibility.

The artworks displayed in this exhibition highlight and amplify these entanglements. The questions and narratives that they reveal are particularly timely given the rising challenges of reclaiming narrative as well as global issues around climate change. This is a call for historical food knowledge to be brought forward, reexamined, and rediscovered.

Curators: Dima Srouji, Faysal Tabbarah, and Meitha Almazrooei


Read more about the exhibition on Warehouse 421.

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