Curated by Reem Feda and Omar berrada

After having studied cinema in France for two years, the young Ahmed Bouanani traveled across Morocco (1962-64) in order to document crafts, oral traditions, and ritual ceremonies. In his archive, two notebooks contain very precise drawings of traditional jewelry made in different villages of the Atlas and the pre-Sahara South. Also in his archives, a large number of manuscript versions of popular Moroccan tales can be found.

Based on forms extracted from the drawings and on characters in the tales, Udmaween is three sculptural works with craftsmen from the region of Marrakech: jewelers, ceramicists, weavers… They were made using ancestral manual techniques exclusively, and only recomposing elements of the heritage archived by Ahmed Bouanani. The aim was to renew the art of jewelry-making by rewriting fragments of the tales spatially, and transcribing the feelings of the characters into the materials.

The resulting objects lies somewhere between jewelry, masks and clothing. They are fragments of the imagination, extensions of the body, stories that can be worn. The hindira and its responding-mask refer to the story of Hayna and the ghoul, in which it is dangerous to separate two quarreling birds. The Plagues refer to the story of Yamna Mansour who stands up to power by refusing to marry the local Caïd, at the risk that he will decimate her village with his army of locusts.

These objects stage variations on narration, symbols, traditional techniques, as well as on the body. A vitrine rather like a working table presents my preparatory drawings alongside documents from Ahmed Bouanani’s archive, to give an idea of the process that led to the making of these works.

Photo credits : Hicham Bouzid

Researches window, Ahmed Bouanani drawings and my drawings



Igdad – Oiseaux – Birds,

2016, traditional Zemmour weaving, wool and cotton. Ceramic coins sown with white silk thread




Alln – L’oeil – The Eye,

2016, black suede, silvered lead, mixed techniques: manual engraving, resin/coral enamel. Black silk seams



Awred – Le fléau – The Curse,

2016, Insects’ body: silver poured in natural marine limestone molds. Insects’ heads: Molded silver and silvered jade stone. Insects’ wings: sculpted silver, resin/coral/natural stone enamel




Skills: Exhibitions, Selected Projects