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LAST CHANCE Sunoj D and Namrata Neog: Desert is a Forest
Alongside the Jameel’s seven gardens designed by Anouk Vogel is a plot reserved for artists to cultivate and experiment. Occupancy is awarded via an annual commission, and this is the third.
Sunoj D and Namrata Neog’s Artist’s Garden is an attempt to imagine the desert to be a forest: “what kinds of negotiations, relationships and hierarchies emerge and submerge?” The installation translates this idea by exploring the biodiversity within the UAE landscape and examining the interconnectedness of the goat, the human, the plant and the natural mineral deposits in the desert.
Desert is a Forest examines the politics of food, domestication, relationships between humans and non-humans, and the way we see and interpret the environment, while also telling the unique history of the UAE’s plant ecology and nutritional habits.
The garden includes a selection of plants, indigenous to the UAE and traditionally consumed (both by humans and goats) or used for medicinal purposes. It also has ‘mineral licks’, deposits which form on the surface of stones or pools of water, attracting animals, plants and humans to their essential mineral nutrients.