Family Gardens – An Emerging Discourse in the Sahrawi Community
For centuries, the Sahrawi have been pastoralist nomads living in Western Sahara. The nomadic lifestyle they were leading was comprised of several traditions and rituals adapted to the surrounding desert environment. Small scale family gardens started to emerge in the Sahrawi community in the Hamada Desert, southwest Algeria around 2002, and they have been increasing in numbers ever since. Currently, there are over one thousand small scale gardens spread through the five Sahrawi refugee camps. Leading figures in the process are Sahrawi agricultural engineers and farmers who have been researching and developing the garden practices in this special location and context. This phenomenon is marking a shift in perspective in the Sahrawi community. It is redefining diet perception in the refugee camps, and takes part in the process of creating a new discourse and narrative for the Sahrawi.
In August 2019, Mohamed Sleiman Labat and Pekka Niskanen took part in the Imagining Godzilla project during Sleiman Labat’s residency period at the Kone Foundation’s Lauttasaari Manor. They went sailing for two days with a floating research platform, looking for evidence of the algae in the Baltic Sea. As it was late August, the blue-green algal blooms had almost disappeared and there was hardly a visible trace left of them. The micro-residency functioned as an opportunity for the PhosFATE-project to film and record above and under water. This was a unique opportunity to gather material for Sleiman Labat’s and Niskanen’s future video installation and a film.