Saturday, October 15, 2011

Footprints of Friends in Fez

An exhibition by Fez photographer Omar Chennafi and American photographer Robert Harrison charts a personal journey for both. 

When Omar Chennafi set off for Senegal to pursue a long held dream to photograph the Tijani sufis, he had no idea the journey would have such a profound impact.

Omar Chennafi - Photo Suzanna Clarke

 "We had a car accident on the way there and a friend of mine died," he says. Naturally Omar was very upset - even more so when he had his camera stolen. However, he found he really did have friends all over the world, as after an appeal by The View from Fez, generous donations by readers in a number of countries enabled him to obtain another camera and to continue developing his promising career.

Several of the photographs Chennafi took on that journey to Senegal two years ago are now on display in the Footprints of Friends All Over the World exhibition at Cafe Clock in the Fez Medina, together with the work of American photographer Robert Harrison.

Photo: Omar Chennafi
 While Harrison has gone for black and white to photograph his experience of walking the famed Spanish Camino trail, Chennafi has chosen muted colour - predominately blues and dark hues - to portray the ritual atmosphere of the sufi ceremonies. His work in the Tijani series is moody and impressionistic, while a photo illustration he has produced featuring another Sufi subject - a whirling dervish, overlaid by calligraphy from the Koran - is the stand-out work of the show.

Footprints of Friends All Over the World opens tonight at Cafe Clock.


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