On the trip to Morocco I visited some really interesting places that really made me thing about Culture and Identity. I found it odd but fascinating to be around so much art, architecture and fabric that all relates to the religion in Morocco and their values. It’s such a huge part of their lives it couldn’t be ignored.
On the second day, on a guide tour, we visited Bahia Palace, a set of buildings and houses that was transformed into a Palace, was created decorated in thousands of pieces of mosaic and held four gardens that represented the four seasons.
The main religion of Morocco is Muslim and the art and decor is created in relation to the rules and values of this belief. The use of figure, portrait and living beings is forbidden in art – this has lead to the use of symbols and shapes, numbers and abstractions to represent plants, animals and Muslim beliefs. Arabic script is also used to line the walls of Mosques and Palaces. This simplification creates complex patterns and designs, using colour to add expression and beauty, which is something I’ll be doing in my work.
We also visited a Muslim Cemetery- where the bodies of the dead are buried straight into the ground, without a coffin or casing, covered in white cloth, on the day of their death. The act of this burial was explained by the the tour guide – “we come to this world with empty hands so we leave this world with empty hands.” There is no cremation either, as Muslims believe “we come from the earth, and therefore go back to it”. The ‘gravestones’ and tiled flat slates over where the bodies are buried, with no name or identification, and different spaces of burial for the level of importance of the person. Servants and Workers are buried in the garden – the lowest part – Kings and Children buried separably inside. The plaques are sculptures taller in relation to the importance of each person, as a sign of respect.
The spirit and motivation of life in Morocco seems so pure and beautiful, the shapes and designs sown or carved in material, walls or jewellery to scare off the evils eye, the Arabic script from the Koran lining the walls, detailed tiling to represent beliefs and verses from the Koran and the discreet but pure burial of the dead.