Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 November 2019

Food meets art: Jordanian chef recreates ancient statue with traditional yoghurt

Presented at Amman Design Week, the work by Omar Sartawi is a replica of an Ain Ghazal statue

Jordanian chef Omar Sartawi is no stranger to playing with food. Last year, he garnered attention in his native country for concocting an unusual recipe – Jameed chocolate, combining the dried yoghurt food, akin to a hard cheese, with white chocolate truffle. The salty Bedouin-Jordanian dairy product, typically made from fermented goat’s milk, is a main ingredient in the country’s national dish, mansaf.

At Amman Design Week this month, Sartawi presented another innovation, an edible replica of an Ain Ghazal statue – a two-headed bust – using Jameed as his material.

Named after the archaeological site in which they were found, the Ain Ghazal Statues comprise of 15 statues and 15 busts that date back to the Neolithic period, around 8000 BC. Made of lime plaster and reed, they were discovered in the 1980s and are considered one of the earliest representations of human form in such a scale. The original statue that Sartawi has recreated is currently on view at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

In an Instagram post, the chef states that he spent six months developing Jameed as a building material before unveiling the final work. Developing his own mixture, he used a mould to cast the piece and reproduce the statue’s facial features. Despite its stone-like texture and colour, the work is delicate and prone to cracking. As the fractures deepen, they tie into Sartawi’s ideas about the fragility of cultural heritage.

The piece is now on display The Corner art space in Amman.

Updated: October 21, 2019 06:15 PM

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