Through November 20, 2019, the L’Atelier 21 Art Gallery in Casablanca will showcase the storytelling photography of Moroccan artist Majida Khattari. In her photography exhibit “A la lumière des corps” the Erfoud born artist poetically uses the female form to express the destruction of Palmyra, a multi-century old desert city. The ancient Syrian city has archeological findings that date back to the Neolithic period. “I purposely made reference to Palmyra, which was destroyed by war, because this city has witnessed many civilizations who co-existed throughout history in harmony despite the difference of customs and religions.”
Likely, the artist was inspired by her own desert roots in creating her series. Erfoud is located in Southern Morocco and considered part of the Sahara Desert, an area associated with the Western Sahara territorial dispute. The south is also home to Amazigh, Arab, Sahrawi, Sub-Saharan African, Mediterranean, and nomadic tribes who cohabitate peacefully. Like the Palmyra, southern Morocco is also rich in archaeology. The 8th-century town Sijilmassa, located a few kilometers south of Erfoud, was celebrated by Morocco’s Ministry of Culture and Communication for its 1,300 years existence.
Through her photography combining mediums such as song, music, and dance, Khattari conveys the importance of living together peacefully and bridging cultural gaps. “I work a lot on Arab and Muslim cultures. What we are witnessing in the Arab world in terms of conflicts is heart-breaking and sad. At the same time, I feel that people are resisting and that we should demonstrate the beauty of this resistance,” Khattari said.
Khattari studied art in Casablanca (1989) and graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1995). She has held numerous solo and collective exhibits in galleries throughout Casablanca, Paris, Oxford, London, Tokyo, Dusseldorf, and New York.