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Art Show: 1001 Nights: The Stories Of Scheherazade

Medina Marrakech, Morocco

by yvonne ayoub

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Art: Medina Marrakech, Morocco by Artist yvonne ayoub
In December 2007 I was fortunate to find myself the fabulous Moroccan city of Marrakesh. Wandering through the bustling narrow streets of the old Medina, all the images I’d stored in my mind’s eye, from stories I had read, such as the Arabian Nights, and Rimsky Korsakov’s beautiful music for the Ballet ‘Sheherazade’ (which I had performed in myself, many years ago) suddenly sprang to life in front of me. I had spent many years growing up in and living in various countries throughout the Middle East but this city, with its rich tapestry of colour, cacophony of sounds, fine examples of craftsmanship and mathematical intricacies of Islamic design, simply overwhelmed me, bombarding my senses with an intensity I had never experienced before. Returning home, I felt compelled to express all I had seen and so began a series of large paintings. This painting (in acrylics on canvas, size: 1.15 x 76 cm) is the first in the series. In it I tried to incorporate all the elements of shape, colour, light and design that had so entranced me about the old Medina. Though not taken literally, word for word, I took inspiration from passages from two of the tales related by Sheherezade in her 1001 Nights, which aptly evoke all I tried to capture. The first from ‘The City Of Many-Columned Iram And Abdullah Son Of Abi Kilabah’(as translated by Sir Richard F. Burton): “I found it had two vast gates (never in the world was seen their like for size and height) inlaid with all manner jewels and jacinths, white and red, yellow and green. Beholding this, I marveled with great marvel and thought the case mighty wondrous. Then, entering the citadel in a flutter of fear and dazed with surprise and affright, I found it long and wide, about equaling Al-Medinah in point of size. And therein were lofty palaces laid out in pavilions all built of gold and silver and inlaid with many colored jewels and jacinths and chrysolites and pearls. And the door leaves in the pavilions were like those of the castle for beauty, and their floors were strewn with great pearls and balls, no smaller than hazelnuts, of musk and ambergris and saffron”. The second from ‘The Eldest Lady's Tale’: “Presently I espied an open door, for which I made straight, and found leading to it a flight of seven steps. So I walked up and came upon a place pargeted with marble and spread and hung with gold-worked carpets and tapestry, a-middlemost of which stood a throne of juniper wood inlaid with pearls and precious stones and set with bosses of emeralds. In the further wall was an alcove whose curtains, bestrung with pearls, were let down and I saw a light issuing therefrom, so I drew near and perceived that the light came from a precious stone as big as an ostrich egg, set at the upper end of the alcove upon a little chryselephantine couch of ivory and gold. And this jewel, blazing like the sun, cast its rays wide and side. The couch also was spread with all manner of silken stuffs amazing the gazer with their richness and beauty. till at last I fared to the regions of the setting sun and abode for a space of thirty years in the Moroccan interior”.

Detail Images

Detail Image for art Medina Marrakech, Morocco

Detail Image for art Medina Marrakech, Morocco


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