Not quite ‘turn left in the middle of nowhere and keep going‘ but………
No – we’re not really in the middle of nowhere – we’re just a few miles from the town of Tafraoute in Southern Morocco. But the desolation of the beautiful Almenn Valley certainly adds to the bizarreness of what we are seeking….
There we are – first glimpse….
The painted rocks of Tafraoute are the work of a Belgian artist Jean Verame. His canvas of pink granite was already rounded and sculpted thanks to millennia of weathering and, with the support of King Hassan 11, he set about creating a desert transformation. In 1984, with the help of the Tafraoute fire department and 18 tonnes of paint, he spent 3 months altering the landscape.
Strange as the sight is from a distance, there is beauty up close……
…..the multicoloured palette is easier to see…..
….as is the scale of the undertaking!!
Where’s Wally!!!!! (Shouldn’t have worn blue today, Tom!!!)
Verame meticulously painted caves, cracks and individual rocks. The intervening years haven’t been kind and there has been significant weathering. But many of the rocks have a vibrancy indicating obvious restoration – this is a tourist attraction after all!!
Art or Abomination!!!
This is not Verame’s only example of Nomadic or Land Art. He began painting stone in 1975 in the Cevennes and went on from there to complete projects in Chad, Corsica and the Sinai among others. Such monumental undertakings take years of preparation and months to complete, using where possible, local techniques and specific pigments.
You either love it or hate it!
Did this beautiful barren landscape need such intervention? – no – of course not. But while it’s impossible to reconcile these blots of colour with the surrounding hues, I’ll admit the scene brought a smile and has definitely left an impression!