Listening to Seeds
June 4, 2020, 19:30
In the midst of a global pandemic existential questions bubble up to the surfaces of our minds and hearts. Who have we been? Who would we like to be? And how is this moment informing how we see our mortality? From grief to healing, Vivien Sansour has been dabbling with these questions for some time. In her film, Zaree’a, developed during her residency at Delfina Foundation in 2019, Vivien explores these questions as she processed a journey she took in connecting to the seeds of Jamaican seed saver, Esiah Levy, who at the young age of 34 passed away leaving behind his wife, two young sons, and a collection of seeds.
Plants offer more than nutrition, they offer us a connection to other realms and they whisper new wisdoms in our hearts' ears.
In this communion with the plant world we come to understand things about our own human nature that are sometimes beautiful and sometimes hard to reckon with.
In this virtual gathering we will join Vivien in sharing stories about our own experiences while at the same time being prompted by snippets of stories from Palestine and around the world. Participants will be asked to share and or read from a collection of images and captions that will be shared with those who register.
Vivien Sansour is the founder of the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library. Trained in the field of Anthropology, Vivien worked with farmers worldwide on issues relating to agriculture and independence where she wrote about and photographed rural life and practices. Her solo show, Terrain: Palestinian Agri-Resistance, a collection of rural portraits of agricultural Palestine was exhibited in The Jerusalem Fund Gallery in Washington, DC (2012). Vivien was selected artist for Confrontation Through Art residency in Nicosia, Cyprus where she was part of the collective exhibit, “Where The Sky And The Earth Touch.'' As part of her work on seed autonomy Vivien has created the Traveling Kitchen Project where she designed and built a mobile kitchen that journeys across Palestine to engage people in discussions about heirloom varieties, biodiversity, and seed conservation. She is working on bringing back threatened varieties ‘back to the dinner table to become part of our living culture rather than a relic of the past’. A public speaker, Vivien has presented her work as an artist, independent scholar, and conservationist in several venues locally and globally including SALT Art Center in Istanbul, Georgetown University, Qalandiya International Biennale, and Columbia University. Vivien's film Zaree'a was shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as the Manchester International Festival in 2019. Her performance, Autonomia, was selected for the closing of the Venice Art Biennale, 2019.
In October 2018, Vivien Sansour was our very first resident at Dar Jacir when she designed and planted an entire terrace with mloukhieh after it was first cleared of glass and shrapnel to reclaim the space and our sense of home.
This seminar was part of Dar Jacir's online program organized in response to the coronavirus emergency. Foregrounding solidarity and care our program focused on bringing together our family of artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers and dancers to lead programs and remain connected while we are physically separated.