Morocco: The Mountain and the Desert
Photographs by Mary Cross
on exhibit at the Woodrow Wilson Center October 23 - November 21, 2003
Timeless Morocco in all its remoteness and mystery is "a cold land with a hot sun." In a project that took over three years to complete, photographer Mary Cross traveled to the Rif mountains and crossed the wide deserts, from the cities of Tangiers, Marrakesh, Taroudant, Rabat, and more, to the villages of Taliouine, Zagora, Chaouen, and beyond.
The exhibit of 22 color photographs depicting various aspects of Moroccan life will be on display in the 4th floor atrium of the Woodrow Wilson Center from October 23 - November 21, 2003, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. A sampling of her work is below.
On a March morning following the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the highest mountain peaks of Jebel Toubkal are obscured by a heavy cloud cover. On this feast day, when all fasting has been completed, Berber men of the high Atlas village of Aremb gather for a sermon and communal prayer in a small, sanctified enclosure at the foot of the great mountain.
Wearing a blue cotton turban and robe reminiscent of the fabled "Blue Men" of North Africa's Sahara Desert, this young Bedouin stands on a high sand dune at Merzouga, south of Erfoud.
The old city of Fez seems to be ringed by cemeteries. Outside the ancient city walls, the late-afternoon light warms a Muslim graveyard. In the older cemeteries, most headstones bore no name. The persona of the deceased was obliterated. All believers were considered equal in the eyes of Allah.
At the great September livestock market in Imilchil, the sheep are tied together, twenty to a bunch, for ease of selling and efficiency in packaging. Fastened head to head, the alternating pattern results in a pleasing, geometric symmetry.
(image below) The crenelated battlements of the kasbah at Boulemane du Dades command a sweeping view of the countryside below.