I Went To Africa- No No No Not Your Version of Africa


There’s this image of golden plains cracked with drought suffering under a burning ball of sun, the only shadows moving in the vast expanse of nothing are those of lions, zebras, and elephants.  This image of blatant wherewithal, empty for the purpose of allowing superiority complexes to be bolstered as they fill this empty.  This image repurposed and reprinted over and over again, repurposing half-truths and reprinting ignorance.  This image that is spoon-fed to those who lack the capacity to question its source and continue colonial impacts on a world trying to move forward.  It was only after traveling to Morocco, traveling to a small piece of Africa, that I was able to abandon this image.  Upon traveling to Morocco, I was given the opportunity to illustrate my own images of Morocco, captured in real time.  I was able to see, experience, taste, hear, smell, live its life, its people, its creatures.  And only then was I able to truly grasp the exquisite vibrancy of Morocco painting my illustrations in living, breathing, truthful colors and these colors have enraptured my soul, realligning the essence of my being giving me purpose and passion and a newly acquired love for cultures, traveling, and learning.

I have chosen three images that I love because they capture the colors of Morocco, the playfulness, the energy, the vivacity.  Morocco is colorful and the colors are generously everywhere, symbolizing a generous, kind, hospitable people.

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I like this image because all the colors are bouncing around, taking over my vision, and exploding my senses.  I like this image because there’s so much stuff, so many trinkets that there’s physical layers that make the viewer understand what it would feel like to touch this pile of stuff .  This pile is overwhelming, much like the overall experience of traveling to Morocco, much like the overall experience of traveling back to the states from Morocco, much like the experience of trying to process everything that happened while traveling in Morocco, much like the experience of being asked what my favorite part of the trip was and being at a loss for words because the trip was indescribably incredible and so much more than a fifteen minute camel ride.

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I like this image because the colors of the insides and the outside of the fig pop out at the viewer and are very vibrant, reflecting the life and culture of Morocco.  This image also symbolizes a few things to me.  It symbolizes the physical cracking open of culture we got to do while in Morocco.  The outside of the fig represents what we thought we were going to find in Morocco, but once we were in Morocco, making friends in Morocco, living in Morocco, we realized the outside barely alluded to the juicy, deliciousness of the inside.  This image also symbolizes two worlds that are often split due to varying religious, cultural, and political beliefs, but that still exist as two halves of the same whole, something that is typically forgotten but nonetheless true.

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I love this image because it captures the often hidden beauty, uncharted wonder, unseen delicateness the culture and people of Morocco have.  This image was taken inside of a riad, a riad which on the outside looked like any other building in the medina in Meknes.  But the inside was decorated, colorful, stunning and intricate, reflecting and symbolizing to me the undiscovered and ignored true beauty and care of Moroccan culture.

The colorfullness of Morocco, the whirlwind of brightly painted souvenirs spilling out into the middle of markets, the discovery of the intricate color-blocked pigments of the flesh of figs and their soft shell when cracked open, the concealed colors decorating the inner chambers of the outwardly modest riads, all were constant reminders of the colors of Morocco, the colors of Africa, the splash of life often forgotten, ignored, or rejected in the Western world simply because the Western image is devoid of color.  It renewed my soul with new life and painted my imagination with newfound curiousity and joy.  I went to Morocco expecting to paint my life, my knowledge, my perspective on the canvas of Morocco.  The reality of the trip, however, was Morocco painted it’s life, it’s knowledge, it’s perspective, it’s colors on the canvas of my soul, permanently reminding me of an unforgettable experience that has changed my life in the most subtlest, yet powerful way.


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