As a continuation of our practical research on caravans (in the framework of Project Qafila), we are already working on Qafila Rabiaa: Episode 1.
The first episode will be a short trek of 7 days (90 km) starting near Zagora and arriving to M’hamid El Ghizlane. Dates will be the last week of October or the first one of November. It has been thought to introduce some contemporary artists and researches to nomad life in the Saharan desert.
This is a possible route:
More information coming soon.
We are thrilled to announce our new research: BEYOND QAFILA THANIA
Beyond Qafila Thania brings together researchers from Sudan, Morocco, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands ( Amado Alfadni, Olì Bonzanigo, M'barek Bouhchichi, Pau Cata, Laila Hida, Francesca Masoero, Carlos Perez Marin, Leire Vergara and Heidi Vogels) researching in architecture, sociology and the visual arts actively approaching the cultural, social and geopolitical space of the Sahara desert, tracing back the stories of the old caravans, learning about its influence in current day cultures and societies.
Beyond Qafila Thania facilitates an inspiring frame to research on topics such as contemporary nomad culture and architecture, current immigration routes, history of slave trade and knowledge exchange and mobility within the Mediterranean, Sahel and West Africa.
Beyond Qafila Thania will take place from the 22nd October to the 24th November in the provinces of Zagora, Tata and Guelmim in Morocco. It develops through different stages, including research and archiving, site visits, interviews, public events, a nomadic residency in the desert, round tables and a final exhibition.
Last week we handed a proposal over to authorities on contemporary culture in the oasis of Guelmim (made through Marsad Drâa and Caravane Tighmert). A program that authorities asked us at a meeting last July . It will take a few more weeks to know if they accept the challenge of bringing contemporary culture to those little paradises that are still the oases.
A big thank you to all the artists for trusting us and for their engagement in this adventure.
This culture strategy has four aims:
- to provide access to multidisciplinary artistic training for the oasis population.
- to develop a cultural network in the province (which will allow a better social cohesion).
- to encourage contemporary creation, based on oasis cultures.
- to promote contemporary oasis cultures at regional, national and international levels.
In 2014 we participated in the filming of Planet Sand, a documentary series on desertification directed by Thierry Berrod and produced by Mona Lisa Production, ARTE France, HEILONGJIANG TV, UNIVERSCIENCE, CNRS images and IRD. The series has been aired in France (Arte TV) in May and in Spain (La 2 and www.rtve.es) in June, but it will shown in 100 channels all over the world.
Some people wanted to know how we contacted the filmmaker and how we convinced him to show our projects on this documentary series, in fact, we did nothing, he just contacted us...
This is the story behind our participation in Planet Sand (click on the image).
In two weeks we will have a new edition of Caravane Tighmert. This is a compilation of the activities we have done since 2015. Thanks to all the inhabitants of the oasis and the artist that have come during these years.
(Caravane Tighmert is parallel program we organise from Marsad Drâa with friends from Tighmert, Guelmim in the south of Morocco)
This evening, on Arte TV, will be aired, for the first time, the documentary serie on desertification directed by Thierry Berrod. One of the 5 episodes will be consecrated to the Sahara desert and we explain the project we proposed from Marsad Drâa, rammed earth dwellings as barriers against desertification (made by Inssaf Bourhim and Najelae Chairich) and the research on dune barriers we are developing in Tissardmine.
dwellings-dune barrier projet
We explained the project made by Inssaf and Najlae in the same plot, in Amezrou. Later we went to other locations in the Fezouata palm grove, to show the consequences of desertification. Finally, we were in M'hamid El Ghizlane where the sand in "erasing" a village built during the 80s.
dune barrier construction in Tissardmine
In order to test the viability of the dwelling proposal, we built a curved rammed earth wall in Tissardmine (Rissani) during the documentary shooting.
We are still watching and studying the interactivity between the dune and the barrier...
During several weeks, we have been travelling virtually searching places (some of them do not exist anymore hidden under the sand) that were/are used by caravans in their ways from north to south and from west to east, through the Sahara desert.
Our research group on caravans has done this Google Maps file where you will find a superposition of routes appeared in several books and papers (information collected by Amado Alfadni, Pau Cata, Eleonora Castagnone and Carlos Perez Marin).
LE MAROC SAHARIEN DES ORIGINES À 1670, D. Jacques-Meunié
SUDANESE TRADE IN BLACK IVORY, Ahmed Abdel Ghaffar
THE FORTY DAYS' ROAD, W.B.K. Shaw
CARAVANES D'ALGER AU NIGER PAR LE HOGGAR, Frédéric Nussy
THE TRANS-SAHARAN BOOK TRADE, Eric Rosse
We will complet the map once we get more information