70 x 7 The Meal XLVI, Diriyah Biennale

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Date: 2024
Materials: Table setting for 300 guests, Royal Limoges porcelain plates (Ed 300), table centrepieces in canvas, silk-satin embroidered appliqué
Exhibition history: 2024 Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, After Rain, Saudi Arabia
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta

For the 2024 Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale public program, Lucy + Jorge Orta staged a sohour, the 46th activation of their ongoing participatory project 70 x 7 The Meal. 

A long table installation for 300 guests overlooks Wadi Hanifah, a seasonal river and caravan route that historically led pilgrims along the valley to the market sustaining them with food and water along the way. The menu is prepared by Chef Hissa Alhuthaili (Suhail) based on local food traditions and interventions by local Saudi artists, botanists, heritage experts, farmers punctuate the evening.

The table artworks created by Lucy + Jorge specifically for the occasion include a limited edition of Royal Limoges porcelain plates and embroidered table centre-pieces that draw attention to the natural fertility of the Wadi Hanifah and the garden city of Riyadh, faced with the encroachment of the urban development and loss of traditional knowledge. Field research on the native local species in collaboration with local botanists (NCVC), and on the symbolic meaning of traditional Sadu motifs (Atharna, TRITA), come together in the table artworks through a lexicon of figurative and abstract geometric shapes to share a new language of resilience.

With special thanks to National Centre for Vegetation Cover Development & Combating Desertification (NCVC); Dr Dlayel bint Mutlaq bin Shafi Al-Qahtani (Atharna); Artistic Director Ute Meta Bauer, Co-curators Wejdan Reda, Anca Rujoiu and Assistant Curators Amina Diab, Dian Arumningtyas, Alanood A. Al-Sudairi.