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Selections from a series of 60-80 photographs throughout Morocco in 1995 and 1998.

For me, the intensity of Morocco reverberated in the power and presence of the implicit, the invisible, and the unspoken, in the subtle spaces between modern and traditional worlds, spiritual and physical realms, or urban and desert landscapes. In Morocco I sensed that what separates the visible and invisible realms is as permeable as breath.

Time seemed to converge or re-sort itself continously, and in this way was both more accessible and more secret than in any other place or experience I’ve had.

Shrines and tombs of saints (Muslim and Jewish) are found all over Morocco, some venerated by both religions. No matter how remote, their presence seemed central, sanctifying the land.

In 1998 I traveled with Moroccan-born Israeli anthropologist, Nissim Krispil, to Berber villages lining the Draa valley, and further east to the Tafilalt. In these pre-Saharan regions, we explored the abandoned homes and synagogues of the old mellahs, some re-inhabited, others empty and silent. With untarnished memories, village elders recalled details of former community life, the family names and trades of former Jewish neighbors from almost half a century before, recounting friendship, respect, and interdependency. These elders were the guardians of Jewish history, and their grandchildren would often gather and listen with us. Homage was paid to a way of life long over, yet brought present again as each family was remembered, each name mentioned.

In rural regions I met strong people with generosity of spirit. Their hospitality felt like a natural extension of a symbiotic relationship with earth, aligned to heart and hearth, faith and humor.

In villages hand-wrought from clay and palm trees, nourished by an oasis that seems like a mirage, or where dark labyrinths emerge into bright heat, I experienced 'threshold' as a place where entry and departure coexist, like birth and death.

I sift through my photographs again twenty years later and remember and wonder about the ruins and the renovations, the passing of time and guardianship, the breaking of bread and the permeability of peace, the timeless hope for a good life.

©Rose-Lynn Fisher 2002-2016

 

 

Morocco:


selections from the exhibitions:

Liminal Spaces

Drinking From the Same Well


images © Rose-Lynn Fisher all rights reserved

          



Mellah, Ghirland, Tafilalt 1998


Woman in Passage, Agdz Mellah, Draa 1998


Home in mellah of M'hamid 1998


Agdz home 1998


Lila, Rabat 1995


Brother Sister Marrakesh 1995


Josef, Sale 1995


Slat al Fassiyine synagogue, Fez 1995, prior to renovation 2013


Elder, Mellah of Yirrara,Tafilalt 1998


Agouim cemetery 1998


Shrine to Saint, Sidi Rahal 1995


El Badi hallway, Marrakesh, 1995

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Mhamid home 1998


Tinzouline mellah 1998

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Nissim Krispil oral histories, Draa 1998


Sahara 1995