UAE, Morocco’s Sahraoui culture, heritage meet in Tan-Tan art exhibition

A painting exhibition highlighting both the Emirati and Morocco’s Sahraoui culture and heritage kickstarted Friday at the Municipal Palace’s exhibition hall on the sidelines of the activities of the 10th edition of Tan-Tan Moussem Festival in Morocco.
“This is my first visit to Morocco as my dream came true. This is also my first painting exhibition in the Arab world,” said Bodour Al Ali, an impressionist Emirati artist who made her name in Europe.
Her paintings illustrate the UAE’s wildlife in the desert which is highlighted by the camels, dears and falcons because of her avid attachment and belonging to nature and landscape
“Our culture is very rich. I can’t summarize it in few paintings. I decided to show visitors the main features of Emirati heritage as she believes some visitors will never have the chance to go to the UAE,” said Al Ali.
Some of her paintings also depict the UAE’s folklore. But the main feature of her exhibition is the beautiful painting of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE, which is displayed at the entrance of the exhibition hall.
“Al Ali’s paintings simply reflect some the UAE’s inherent heritage and the importance of the camels in the Bedouin life,” said Khadijato Bent Ammo, who was browsing the Emirati artist’s paintings.
“We can see that she has a fine touch and professionalism in choosing the right colours for every painting. They are truly amazing,” added the 30-year Bent Ammo, who came from Guelmim to attend the festival.
The UAE is the guest of honour of this year'sfestival which is held from June 3 to 9 in Tan-Tan, South Morocco. Respect for late UAE leaders
Moroccan artist Salek Barkouz’s paintings, which were also on display at the exhibition, did not go unnoticed.
Barkouz’s admiration for the late Emirati rulers is of his main themes besides the Sahraoui culture and heritage.
“The three paintings which depict UAEPresident Sheikh Khalifa binZayedAl Nahyan,the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Zayed the First are my token of respect of their achievements,” said Barkouz who has loved the late Sheikh Zayed since his childhood.
The painting of the late Sheikh Zayed the First is highlighted by the Jahili Fort in the foreground while the horse and falcon are on the late Sheikh’s sides.
“The horse is the symbol of elegance and perseverance while the falcon reflects courage and the long vision,” noted the 45-year-old artist, who was born in Tan-Tan , is on his tenth participation at the Festival since its inception.
Barkouz said that his paintings are priceless.
The other paintings highlight Tan-Tan ’s Sahraoui heritage which he likened to the one in the Gulf region.
“Morocco’s south shares some similarities with the Middle East in terms of traditions and lifestyle while Morocco’s north is more connected to the West,” he said
“Morocco is a mosaic of cultures and customs thanks to its geographic location,” he added.
Barkouz emphasised the Sahraoui life in all its aspects, including the gatherings in the tent and the nomadic lifestyle.
The painting exhibition was held alongside a book exhibition and a seminar about the intangible cultural heritage in Saharan and sub-Saharan regions.
A selection of Emirati books about the UAE’s culture and heritage as well as Moroccan books are displayed at the book exhibition whose main theme is “Tangible and Intangible Heritage” at the entrance of the Municipal Palace’s entrance hall.
The seminar, entitled “Intangible cultural heritage in the Saharan and sub-Saharan regions”, discussed the various components of the nomadic culture.