dOCUMENTA 13: The Art of Sahrawi Cooking

Robin Kahn + La Cooperativa Unidad Nacional Mujeres Saharauis at.....
Kassel, Germany
June 9 - September 15, 2012

Working with a collective of women from Western Sahara, we created “The Art of Sahrawi Cooking,” an installation and series of events for dOCUMENTA(13).  Inspired by my book Dining in Refuge Camps, the project embodied the notion that the word for “family” and “tent” (jaima) are the same in Hassanyia, the Saharawi’s Arabic dialect.  By transporting the tent (the center of social life in the camps) from the sands of Refugee Camp 27 Febrero to the soil of the Karlsaue Park in Kassel, our jaima--whose colorful interior glowed as if dipped in magical saffron--emitted a beacon across the park.

During the exhibition’s first two weeks, we inaugurated “The Couscous Event.”  Drawn by the sounds of Sahrawi Blues into the lushly accommodating interior of our jaima, visitors were welcome to sit down, enjoy a bowl of couscous and a conversation with Sahrawi women about their lives. Each day, more than 750 people stopped by, rested and experienced the transforming effect of “Sahrawi hospitality.”  The creative artistry of  La Cooperative Unidad Nacional Mujeres Saharauis represented by Chaiaa Salek Ali, Fatma Galia Sidi Lounat, Horria Belal Mahumud, Tfarra Hanafi Erguebi, Nadjat Hamdi,  Mouna M'd Keina, Gbenaha Mint Bani, Ezzana Barka Mohamed, Nadjat Hamdi, and The Esteemed Minister of Culture, Khadiija Hamdi spread the message of a future of Sahrawi independence and freedom!

All past and future events that take place as a part of "The Art of Sahrawi Cooking" are listed on the dOCUMENTA(13) calendar.

Reviews of the exhibition:  Kunstforum   New York Times   Art in America

For Video:    RASD TV        VernissageTV       

Some views of the Jaima in the Karlsaue park outside the Orangerie in Kassel (others available on this facebook link here):
Hanging out inside the jaima

Exterior View of Jaima: exit
Exterior View: Entrance to Jaima
Exterior view: Entrance

                                              Family Celebration


  1. Hi Robin,
    I would love to talk to you, if possible, even by email. I am working on a Ph.D in critical theory etc. and have included your work from dOCUMENTA13 in my current research. I am curious if the Living Theater of Julian Beck and Judith Malina have inspired or informed your work? I am drawing a link between your work and Martha Rosler who was influenced by their efforts. Love to talk more if you have time.
    Mary Anne Davis
    mad.maryanne @

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I read your blog..You are doing tremendous job.its very appreciating.Helping refugees ,providing foods and tens for halt is commendable.very nice.keep it up.
    Thanks a lot.
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