Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Gardens of Fez - a Prologue

The opening of the exhibition GARDENSOFFEZ Prologue will be held at the Institute Francais in Fez on May 16th

GARDENSOFFEZ is a project about gardens and their affiliations in the medina of Fez in Morocco. The project is construed around encounters and stories of its inhabitants during my visits to Fez, where I took part in the artist-in-residence program of the French Institute. The exhibition gives an impression of this community based work with a publication and a look into the process of a film in the making.

Fez was once known for her abundance of green spaces, where the gardens not just created a miniature landscape, but depicted a culture of living together, thanks to a special relation of the city with water. The city is built along a river, in a valley filled with springs. Until 30 years ago, garden plots and orchards formed a green belt around the city walls. In the labyrinth of the Medina high walls enclosed the gardens of palaces and riads, and the rooftops were filled with medicinal plants and herbs.

During the last 50 years, because of reasons such as modernisation, pollution, privatisation of the water system, lack of awareness and general economic decline, many gardens of the Medina disappeared. Gardens and their special position in everyday life seem to slowly vanish. However, because these developments took place in a relative short period of time, memories and stories are much alive.

What gardens there are are still used in different ways. In spring, Melhoun musicians perform in riad gardens, friends meet in the park Jnan Sbil, and on Fridays and Sundays families go for a picnic in the surrounding hills.

According to project director, Heidi Vogels (pictured above) , the documentary will show the gardens through the stories of people of Fez - "the film shows the garden as a miniature of countless landscapes: imaginary spaces of memory, poetry and thought that interweave with the spaces of the city." For more info:  Gardens of Fez - Prologue

Everyone is welcome.

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