Shayma Hamad invites us to contemplate the meaning of death and the rituals of mourning through communal dining. The culinary performance draws from the Arabic word ‘naqisa’ [missing], which is ever-present in times of death. It is inspired by the artist’s observation and reflections on how women in Palestine cope at times of such adversity. Arabic mourning traditions involve gathering with the deceased’s family for solace over a shared meal, thus collectively remembering the one who has passed. In being surrounded by the ‘wanissa’ [comfort] of the familiar, the bereaved feels a presence amidst the void.
During this performative dinner, the audience is invited to eat and also experience what is ‘not food’. The artist posits dough-making and kneading as resonant with the act of digging and shares stories collected from the lives of women who have had to excavate a place for the deceased. Not Food reveals how food becomes a means for prayer and wishing.
This event is invite only.