Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai’s contemporary art museum, announces its latest iteration of Library Circles starting February 2, 2022 by food writer and filmmaker Salma Serry. In her research, developed over the past few years, she explores regional menus as a site of confluence where history, knowledge, politics, economies, senses and semantics are revealed.
As part of the research commission, Serry investigates the menus of various food venues that cater to migrant communities in the UAE – expatriates, foreigners, residents, non-citizens – who are in continuous movement in and out of this city. Her work encompasses food lists that are recalled, extracted and collected from memory, community cookbooks, television, and the press, from the late 1960s to the end of the 1990s.
The opening week of ‘Library Circles: Salma Serry’ is accompanied by a collaborative robust public programme of talks and workshops that further Serry’s investigation on Sunday February 6, 2022 and which include:
Beyond Recipes: Re-Approaching the Cookbook Genre for Historical Research with Salma Serry
11:00 am -13:00 pm
In partnership with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, this two-hour workshop is divided into two parts: first, an examination of cookbooks and application of research methods such as those by food historian Barbara Wheaton; second, a focus on using the information from the first part to produce written work.
To register for this event, please click here.
The Sultan’s Feast: Daniel L Newman and Salma Serry
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Professor Daniel L Newman translated and edited the fifteenth century cookbook The Sultan’s Feast by the Egyptian scholar Ibn Mubārak Shāh. In this talk, Newman, together with Serry introduce the audience to this bygone culinary world in a conversation that highlights the connection between the food, history and culture of the SWANA region.
Serry’s research also links Jameel Arts Centre’s programme with that of its new sister institution, Hayy Jameel in Jeddah, which opened to the public on December 6, 2021. Hayy Arts’ opening exhibition, ‘Staple: What’s on your plate?’, co-curated with London-based partner Delfina Foundation, investigates what we eat and the entanglement of food with memory, ecology and place. Serry’s upcoming project in Jeddah entitled ‘A Menu and its Leftovers: Finding the Voices in Jeddah’s Food Histories’ is a series of workshops that looks at food culture as materialised in family recipes, generational cookbooks and ephemera, to document untold histories through culinary practices.
Library Circles feature research, talks and experimental interventions by UAE practitioners in Jameel Library and Jameel Arts Centre. The programme explores alternative research methodologies and representations with a focus on ‘thinking in public’. ‘Library Circles: Salma Serry’ is on view at the Centre until August 1, 2022.
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