“Kūlī nām dharāyā/ they’ve given you the name ‘coolie’”, 2020. IMA Belltower, Brisbane. Photo: Carl Warner.

On 6 December 2021, Hayy Jameel, Art Jameel’s new creative complex in Jeddah, launches with an opening season that includes Staple: What’s on your plate?it’s inaugural exhibition.

Co-curated by Art Jameel’s Rahul Gudipudi and Delfina Foundation’s Dani Burrows, the show features 21 artworks, including seven new research-based commissions, developed in a “food lab” that has run for the past year, and draws upon the two institutions’ long-standing interest in food futures and the eco-social entanglements of what we eat.

Through a plethora of media that spans chocolate sculptures, beehives, print and audiovisual installations sampled from Jeddah, Staple: What’s on your plate? looks at themes of trade, exchange, coloniality, labour, tradition, myth and neo-imperial food production. Engaging with artists and researchers from the wider region, South Asia and Africa through to Europe and beyond, the exhibition is the first of its kind in the Kingdom.

Participating artists include Leen Ajlan, Moza Almatrooshi (Delfina resident, 2014), Bricklab x Misht Studio, CATPC (Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise), Annalee Davis (Delfina resident, 2016), Mohammad Al Faraj (Delfina resident, 2018), Asunción Molinos Gordo (Delfina resident, 2014), Mariam Al Noaimi, Pratchaya Phinthong (Delfina resident, 2018), Sancintya Mohini Simpson, Fatima Uzdenova, Munem Wasif and Lantian Xie (Delfina resident, 2015) with films by Jonathas de Andrade, Florence Lazar, Franziska Pierwoss, Suha Shoman and Zina Saro Wiwa.

An accompanying robust and interactive public and learning programme includes artists, performers and researchers in addition to a rolling film programme of documentaries; talks; cooking and planting workshops; food tours and pop-ups with local producers. Participating artists include Bricklab, Mariam Al Noaimi, Cooking Sections (Delfina residents, 2014), Salma Serry, Slavs and Tatars, Lantian Xie and Raed Yassin (Delfina resident, 2014) together with Ute Wassermann.