Tasting Stories from the Sea

Mahala Le May

2022 Food Salt

By focusing on the production of salt and its use in food, especially as a means of preservation, Mahala le May is connecting the Forth coastal area of Scotland to global questions relating to supply chains and systems of food production.

Le May is leading a series of participatory tasting sessions, discussion events and workshops, underpinned by collaboration with local community groups as well as by the artist’s research into modern salt-production technologies and historic salt industries, including at Portobello, Joppa and Prestonpans. Each event aims to celebrate and interrogate the emotional resonance of food and invites participants to explore how flavour informs and is informed by culture, history and the environment. 

Le May’s work will culminate in a series of published recipes, including insights and local stories.

Mahala Le May is a Scottish artist, maker and baker who uses food as a tangible medium to ignite conversation, encouraging individuals and communities to question the complex- ities of contemporary food systems. Through conversations and collabo- rations with farmers, crop breeders, soil scientists and others, Le May is interested in thinking through how her work as a baker can support labour and land rights, soil health, biodiversity and seed sovereignty. 

Le May’s practice privileges process over outcome and participation over production. She uses historical research as a way to question established customs. 

Recent projects include field-to-loaf workshops on an organic farm and a wholegrain biscuit jamboree for participants to share food, skills and stories. Le May is currently researching local grain economies and their significance for both baking and weaving.

Site of Joppa Salt Pans

Commissioned Works & Events:

SALT Group Exhibition, Art Walk Hub, September 2022
Salt Works, mote102, 102 Ferry Road Edinburgh, March 2023

Events 2022
Salty snacks for Art Walk preview exploring salt and filtered sea water

Salt tasting sessions 
Site of Joppa Pans

Art, Food, Communities, Climate Justice
Le May leads an online discussion with Shona Cameron (CLIMAVORE project with Cooking Sections, Isle of Skye) and Rowan Lear (Glasgow Seed Library). 
Online discussion

Salt tasting & fermentation
Flavour and local food systems are at the centre of this artist-led afternoon of tastings and discussion 

Community engagement events
with Portobello Community Fridge and Craigmillar Pantry working with Grass Roots Remedies

Writing commissioned in partnership with MAP Magazine, published in SALT journal published by Art Walk Press 2023:

Tomatoes at Lunch Time with Salt a Line of Salt on Top on Mahala Le May by Glasgow food writer Sean Wai Keung – available to read on MAP

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