In a time of growing conversations about climate change and conservation, many of us find ourselves frustrated at the lack of attention to one of the most important pillars of sustainability: social justice. Terms such as sustainability, food security, and food sovereignty have become staples of ecological discussions but what do they actually mean, in practice, for communities who have experienced injustice for generations? How can we design a different future for food when we are still shy about talking about political and social justice more boldly? How can our past and present experiences inform that vision for a better future? And how can art play a role in shaping conversations about climate, sustainability, and food sovereignty? These themes will be the underlying threads for Vivien Sansour, as she uses story and seed as vessels for transformation.
The talk is part of the Worldbuilding in the Wake monthly series curated by Kareem Estefan within the context of the Postcolonial Ecologies exhibition project.
Vivien Sansour is an artist, storyteller, researcher and conservationist. She uses image, sketch, film, soil, seeds, and plants to enliven old cultural tales in contemporary presentations and to advocate for seed conservation and the protection of agrobiodiversity as a cultural/political act. Vivien founded the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library as part of her work with local farmers. She has been showcased internationally, including at the Chicago Architecture Biennale, V&A Museum in London, Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, and the Venice Art Biennale. A culinary historian and enthusiastic cook, Vivien works to bring threatened varieties “back to the dinner table to become part of our living culture rather than a relic of the past.” This work has led her to collaborate with award-winning chefs, including Anthony Bourdain and Sammi Tamimi. Born in Jerusalem, Vivien lives in both Bethlehem, Palestine and Los Angeles, USA.