Art Exhibit by Rhonda Nolan
Dar Cherifa, Marrakech -- November 2023
"Some time ago, a friend introduced me to the world of the nomads of the Sahara in Morocco. This visit to their settlement was a life-changing moment. A simple gaze inside a nomad tent tugged at my heartstrings and inspired me to use my paintings to help these transient families."
In Morocco, the Sahara feeds me beautiful textures that transpose my paintings to an unforgettable, magical place. Some time ago, a friend introduced me to the world of the nomads of the Sahara in Morocco. This visit to their settlement was a life-changing moment. A simple gaze inside a nomad tent tugged at my heartstrings and inspired me to use my paintings to help these transient families. I felt the pain of the women, their sadness and their despair. Their beautiful children were laughing and playing, as all children do, but I knew that reality would set in quickly and well before their teenage years, when they would be faced with adulthood. From then on, I knew I had to share the plight of the nomads in the Sahara of Morocco. My purpose is to spread awareness of their dire situation today.
My paintings are abstract representations of the nomad existence in the
Moroccan Sahara evoking a sensitive textural experience through the use of
available domestic materials. Layer upon layer is laid down until the feeling is just so. There is a blend of pattern and texture using metal, wood, cloth - synthetic and natural, twine, leather, plastic, and vinyl, all familiar to Nomad life. A soft, muted, earthy palette does not fight for attention as on this vast and warm desert land. These shelters are barely recognizable in this massive expanse. It was necessary to depict this unobtrusive, soft vulnerability yet appear with all intensity when given the opportunity.
The scratchings of marks and lines evoke feelings of erosion worn down through time from the strength of nature, sand, and wind, buried and brushed off repeatedly. Could these be a simple call for help or a nomad legacy telling us they are here and have been here a very long time? The inner strength of these people is overwhelming. I am in awe of their resilience and perseverance.
There are many simplistic ragtag forms and shapes on the desert landscape. They are worn and blended with the textures of this dominant desert land, the Moroccan Sahara. The use of threadbare supporting materials offer the least amount of shelter from the elements, and the scarce use of wood uprights hardly withhold desert storms and wind. These are their only available materials. My eyes soaked it all up. They are trying their best to make this situation bearable for their children and the future. There is something here that rings so raw and true. To have the physical and mental strength to live is what matters. These people are barely surviving in 2023. They need our help.