Staple – an artists’ film programme

An artists’ film programme reflecting on the ecological, social, and geo-political entanglements of food and food systems. These films are programmed in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Staple: What’s on your plate?curated by Rahul Gudipudi and Danielle Burrows and currently showing at Hayy Jameel, Jeddah. The exhibition was developed collaboratively by Art Jameel and Delfina Foundation.

For a curatorial note and artists’ biographies follow the link here

Screening times indicated below for the respective films are subject to opening hours at the Jameel Arts Centre. Please note changes and night screenings during Ramadan

Value in a state of economic crisis by Franziska Pierwoss
2021, video, sound with Arabic, English and French, English Subtitles, 32 mins
Commissioned by Temporary Art Platform and supported by the Goethe Institut Beirut

In March 2021, the Lebanese local currency reached a record low on the black market, losing more than 85% of its value. Supermarkets are at the epicenter of the ongoing economic crisis, where the quotidian shopping experience is characterised by anxiety and uncertainty due to daily price fluctuations. The unfolding crisis is narrated through a series of artist-led interviews with consumers, employees, and managers of small and large-scale businesses.

Screening times : 10:00 am – 10:32 am,  1:00 pm – 1:32 pm, 4:00 pm – 4:32 pm, 7:00 pm – 7:32 pm, 9:00 pm – 9:32 pm

Table Manners Season 2: Dorcas eats roasted snail and drinks Maltina by Zina Saro-Wiwa
2019, video, sound, 6.48 mins
Courtesy of the artist

Dorcas Eats Roasted Snail and Drinks Maltina is an excerpt of a series of films entitled Table Manners, which depicts people of Ogoniland, Nigeria, eating in front of the camera. The Ogoniland area of southern Nigeria is one of the most polluted places on Earth. Crops are burnt, ash and tar smother the land, and wells are polluted with oil spills, making the water totally undrinkable. Entire communities have suffered as their way of life has been destroyed by the oil industry. In this film, eating becomes an act of collective memory, highlighting the centrality of regional culinary ingredients and traditions. The film deliberately reverses the gaze, asking the viewer to consider contemporary political and socio-economic struggles.

Screening times: 10:33 am – 10:40 am, 1:33 pm – 1:40 pm, 4:33 pm – 4:40 pm, 7:33 pm – 7:40 pm, 9:33 pm – 9:40 pm

RETURN by Michael Rackowitz
2004 – ongoing, video, sound with English, 19.48 mins
Courtesy of the artist

In 2006, Michael Rakowitz re-opened Davisons & Co., his grandfathers import and export business who fled to Bombay in 1940 following exile from Iraq. RETURN begins as a symbolic gesture to reinitiate shipping of goods between the two countries, and to facilitate a space for dialogue and exchange between Iraqi diaspora and American familes with relatives stationed in Iraq, and develops into an effort to revive Iraqi date exports and trade economy while surfacing the continued hindrances, delays and costs of import faced by exporters long after the embargo on Iraqi produce was lifted. 

Screening times: 10:40 am – 11:00 am, 1:40 pm – 2:00 pm, 4:40 pm – 5:00 pm, 7:40 pm – 8:00 pm, 9:40 pm – 10:00 pm

Semiya (Seed Song) by Cecilia Vicuña
2015, video, sound, 7:43 mins
Courtesy of the artist; Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London; and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

In this “video poem,” Vicuña gathers endangered native seeds in the Colchagua region, in the foothills of the Andes mountains in Chile, on May 28, 2015. This work recreates and continues her work on behalf of seeds, which began in 1971, in Santiago de Chile.

Screening times: 11:00 am – 11:08 am, 2:00 pm – 2:08 pm, 5:00 pm – 5:08 pm, 10:00 pm – 10:08 pm

You think the Earth is a dead thing by Florence Lazar
2019, film, sound with French and Creole, English Subtitles, 70 min
Produced by Sister Productions

Stemming from a larger investigation that began in Martinique, the film examines the long-term ecological and health effects of Chlordecone, a carcinogenic insecticide used for more than 20 years on the island’s banana plantations. The film weaves together images of lush scenery from the island and its banana plantations with interviews of herbalists who use plants that were once the only medical resource of enslaved people to counteract the ecological and health devastation caused by the pesticides, and farmers reclaiming uncultivated lands to grow indigenous vegetables free from industrial pesticides.

Screening times: 11:10 am – 12:20 pm, 2:10 pm – 3:20 pm, 5:10 pm – 6:20 pm, 10:10 pm – 11:20 pm

Bayyaratina by Suha Shoman
2009, video, sound with Arabic, English Subtitles, 8 mins
Courtesy of the artist

Narrated by the artist, this film tells a Palestinian story of tragedy and hope through the history of her family’s orange grove in the Beit Hanoun area of northern Gaza. Alleys of abundant orange trees lined with palm trees are interspersed with family portraits as Shoman describes the developments of the groves until 2002. At the start of the Second Intifada, Israeli troops began a series of invasions into Gaza, each one leaving its scars on the groves.

Screening times: 12:20 pm – 12:28 pm, 3:20 pm – 3:28 pm, 6:20 pm – 6:28 pm, 11:20 pm – 11:28 pm

There is an edible gold by Moza Almatrooshi
2021, Moving Image, sound with Arabic, 27 mins
Commissioned by Art Jameel

Bees have been collaborating with humans for at least 9,000 years, as a source of medicine and food as well as religious and cultural inspiration. Bees increase food quantity and quality through pollination; and there would be no cucumbers, mustard, or almonds without bees. They play a vital part not only in agricultural production but also in forestry and climate regulation. Monocropping, pesticides, and higher temperatures associated with climate change all pose serious problems for bee populations and, by extension, for us. Almatrooshi’s artwork lyrically fuses the cares and conflicts that surround bees, their honey, and their interactions with humanity. From the knowledge and experience of the beekeeper to the flora and fauna that make the perfect ingredient for honey, to carefully constructed travel cases through which the bees experience immigration issues, discrimination, and identity crisis.

Screening times : 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm, 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm, 6:30 pm – 7:00 pm, 11:30 pm – 12:00 am

Please note Jameel Arts Centre opening hours :

Sat – Thu: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Fri: 12:00pm – 8:00pm
Tue: Closed

During Ramadan –

Mon: 10am – 4pm
Tue: Closed
Wed: 10am – 4pm + 9pm – 12am (Ramadan Lates)
Thu: 10am – 4pm
Fri: Closed
Sat: 10am – 4pm + 9pm – 12am (Ramadan Lates)