The Berber Museum is located in the former painting studio of Jaques Majorelle, and presents a panorama of the extraordinary creativity of the oldest people in North Africa. A collection of over 600 objects (jewellery, arms, leatherwork, basketry, textiles, and carpets) was sourced throughout Morocco –from the Rif Mountains to the Sahara Desert- and attests to the richness and diversity of an ongoing, vibrant culture.
The museum was designed around its collection: sound, music photography and film transport the visitor, opening a door onto the Berber culture of Morocco
Stella Jean is an emerging Italian fashion designer, whose cultural identity often provides inspiration for her eponymous label. She collaborates with African artisans, based on the principle of increase in value, economic impact and respect for the territory, resources and traditions of the local communities who must be supported, while at the same time preserving ancestral knowledge – at risk of extinction – and opposing the debasing effect of imperialist homogenization
Her testament is how fashion, beyond aesthetics, can evolve into an instrument of counter-colonisation and become a vehicle for, and expression of, economic, social and ethical growth and enfranchisement.
The principles of an intentional, but never ostentatious, elegance are developed and expressed through sharp Italian artisanal tailoring. A mood whose uniqueness is revealed as a reflection of the designer’s personal multiculturalism, translated into the “Wax & Stripes Philosophy”, her veritable signature style.
Morocco holds a quasi monopoly on argan oil. It is extracted from the argan tree, an endemic spices that grow on the southwest of the country (the Mexican argan tree doesn’t produced oil). Rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, it is used in cooking and skincare products. Since the late 1990s, this oil has become increasingly popular among consumers in Europe, North America and Japan. Until recently, demand was met by oil obtained from 50 million Moroccan trees and the work of 2 million local employees. Considering that it takes 15 years before an argan tree produces any nuts and that it will yield no more than 2 liters of oil, it is difficult to obtain enough of it to satisfy global demand.
Set up in Amsterdam, in 1983, at the instigation of its current President, Michel Leveau, the Olfert Dapper Foundation takes its name from a xviith-century Dutch humanist who, despite never leaving his native country, wrote an encyclopedic description of Africa, first published in 1668.
The purpose of this private non-profit organization is to raise the profile of sub-Saharan Africa’s artistic heritage and contribute to its conservation, by staging exhibitions and awarding research bursaries.
Director Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau was on the Musée du quai Branly steering committee from 1999 to the end of 2004 and is a member of the Committee for the Memory of Slavery (CPME), set up on January 5th 2004.
He was born in Edirne, the then capital city of the Ottoman Empire state. His father was sultan Murad II (1404-51). At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople, bringing an end to the medieval Byzantine Empire. He also claimed the title of Caesar of Rome in addition to his other titles, Ottoman Sultan and Caliph, after the conquest of Constantinople. Mehmed II’s reign is also well-known for the religious tolerance with which he treated his subjects, especially among the conquered Christians, which was very unusual for Europe in the middle ages.
Now in its tenth edition, The Recontres de Bamako biennal was founded to promote African photographic creation. Based in particular in the tradition of portrait photography that developed in Mali in the 1960s. The event provides an excellent springboard for emerging talents, perfectly in step with the international scene.
(1886-1962) Were a French orientalist painter and son of the famous Art Nouveau furniture designer, Louis Majorelle. He arrived in Morocco in 1917, invited by the French Resident-General, Marshal Lyautey. Majorelle was seduced by Marrakesch. In 1923, he decided to live there, purchasing a vast palm grove that would become the Majorelle Garden we know today.
In 1980, Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurent acquired the Jardin Majorlele, saving it from real estate developers. Since the, the garden has been restored, and many new plants have been added
The term kilim comes from Turkish and Eastern Persian. It means “covering”. Kilims are flat tapestry carpets woven by passing the weave through the warp; this is one of its uniqueness that determines its design. Geometric patterns are the most common: Diagonal lines mainly forming reversed diamonds and triangles that are spread across the design, by creating a border or following a pattern, some of them with symmetrical patterns covering the entire bottom of the carpet. As well as decorations, colours give an ideal touch to kilims: Maroon, blue, dark brown.
Rugs manufactured by women from the Berber tribes of the Upper Atlas region of Morocco, made from recycled textiles with wonderful colouring in which the female universe is embodied violently and smugly. These highly original rugs are aesthetically very powerful and whose shapes and colours are striking and daring.
The craftswomen do not follow any predefined guidelines or patterns when manufacturing these rugs, rather they improvise freehand without placing any limits on the creative spirit to achieve their goal.
Recycled materials used create a bond between primitive and modern art forms. A genuine canvas of modern abstract art, like a Kandinsky painting displayed without contrivances on the floor.
Until rather recently, these rugs were not traded due to the apparent scarcity of their materials, however, they have begun to appear in western markets as a result of their authenticity and aesthetic worth.
A good way of recognising new arrivals to a city is, if you are travelling alone, is a muted anger whereas if you are travelling in company, this takes the form of an open argument.
Distrust, doubts, the relative nature of what one takes as read at a few hours’ distance, undermine the bemused and weary traveller’s patience.
Perhaps it is in these moments when the journey reveals itself to the traveller.