Friday, November 13, 2020 at 6:00pm to 9:00pm
In 2015 I traveled Morocco’s mountains, desert, and coasts via motorcycle. One of the highlights was a tour of the Fez medina, a labyrinthine city founded circa 800AD that comprises a maze of some 9,000 narrow streets within 5 miles of defensive ramparts. Boasting the oldest continuously operating university in the world, founded by a woman named Fatima al-Fihri, today Fez remains the intellectual, spiritual, and cultural heart of Morocco. In 2019 I returned to the vibrant medieval city — this time to live inside the medina.
At historic east-west and north-south crossroads linking the Sahara, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and other North African countries, the local architecture, arts, and traditions reflect the contributions of Arab, Jewish, and Berber (Amazigh) peoples arriving from Tunisia, al-Andalus (southern Spain/Portugal), the Atlas mountains, and the local countryside over the city’s 12 centuries. The capacity of the Maghreb to incorporate does not stop with its capacity to welcome different peoples, however, as one finds that inside the medina, time does not march ever forward so much as expand to accommodate the present. This can be readily seen in everything from traditional garments taking on modern styling or carpets made in the traditional way at home incorporating contemporary motifs.
This exhibit will feature a selection of items that I acquired deep in the souks of the medina, including vintage rugs, beaded necklaces, aromatic perfumes, ceramics for jewelry and other smalls, ghassoul clay masques — used by women in Morocco as part of their traditional hammam skin-care ritual for centuries — and intricately painted shelves, among other unique treasures.
The exhibit will also feature paintings by Aziz KIBARI, Contemporary Moroccan Artist. Working with gouache, watercolor, and acrylic on canvas, Aziz depicts Bonhommes [good-natured men], characters inspired by his youth on his parents' farm, as well as other motifs related to the land, nature, and simplicity in a style that sits at the intersection of tradition and modernism. A rising star on the Moroccan art scene together with his brothers Habib and Abdelhadi, Aziz’ paintings have been displayed in numerous exhibits throughout Morocco and in Paris, and currently several of his works can be found in the Moroccan Embassy in Washington DC, where they "beautifully illustrate the dynamism and creativity of contemporary Moroccan art.”
I invite you to an evening celebrating the UNESCO World Heritage site that is Fez and the contemporary traditional arts of Morocco!
Opening: November 13, 2020, 6-9pm, at Petersburg Area Art League, 7 East Old St, Petersburg, VA 23803. The exhibit will run through December 5, 2020. For more information, call PAAL at 804.861.4611.
10% of event proceeds will be donated to the American Fondouk, a 501-c3 nonprofit organization that provides free veterinary care and related services for the working animals that make life in the medina and countryside work, and the Medina Children’s Library, a nonprofit founded by women from the US and Australia that encourages literacy and a love of reading in the children of the medina. For more information on these organizations’ important activities:
COVID-19 guidelines will be followed: masks required to enter, social distancing will be observed.
Petersburg Area Art League, Upstairs Gallery
7 E Old St, Petersburg, VA 23803