Amzrou Synagogue Interior, Series II, No. I, 2009

Amzrou Synagogue Interior, Series II, No. 1, 2009 (excerpt)
Running Time: 2:09 minutes / HD / colour

This video explores a perspective of the interior of a synagogue in Amzrou, a kasbah in southern Morocco.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Audio: Silent

         thousands of particles dance in a pool of light
         like stars in another planet
         their magnitude unknown

         patterns of vivid strands
         fluffy with dust,
         delicate as silk,
         tangled, they shiver
         announcing the sky

Note: The subject of the Moroccan series concerns the Jewish Berbers of southern Morocco who lived there for 2500 years. The work is a poetic evocation of a place and marks the dispersion of a society from its home, its place of origin. It is the result of research, interviews and several trips that I made to southern Morocco, starting in 1981 that culminated in a series of videos, photographs and drawings.

Amzrou Synagogue Interior, Series II, No. II, 2009

Amzrou Synagogue Interior, Series II, No. 2, 2009 (excerpt)
Running Time: 1:57 minutes / HD / colour

This video explores a perspective of the interior of a synagogue in Amzrou, a kasbah in southern Morocco.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Audio: Silent

         thousands of particles dance in a pool of light
         like stars in another planet
         their magnitude unknown

         patterns of vivid strands
         fluffy with dust,
         delicate as silk,
         tangled, they shiver
         announcing the sky

Note: The subject of the Moroccan series concerns the Jewish Berbers of southern Morocco who lived there for 2500 years. The work is a poetic evocation of a place and marks the dispersion of a society from its home, its place of origin. It is the result of research, interviews and several trips that I made to southern Morocco, starting in 1981 that culminated in a series of videos, photographs and drawings.

Dust, 2009

Dust, 2009 (excerpt)
Running time: 4:50 minutes / HD / colour

Dust, light, and a wall are the elements in this video. The location is an abandoned synagogue in Amzrou, a kasbah in southern Morocco.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Audio: Silent

         black as ash
         this was an oven once they had gone
         with each foot step
         a pool of dust

         with the camera I adjust my lens
         thousands of particles appear and disappear
         to the dance of light

         textures of generations reveal themselves
         a patch of light announces the time of day
         marks of an unknown alphabet decorate the wall

Note: The subject of the Moroccan series concerns the Jewish Berbers of southern Morocco who lived there for 2,500 years. The work is a poetic evocation of a place and marks the dispersion of a society from its home, its place of origin. It is the result of research, interviews and several trips that I made to southern Morocco, starting in 1981 that culminated in a series of videos, photographs and drawings.

The Guardian, 2009

The Guardian, 2009 (excerpt)
Running time: 3:26 minutes / HD / colour

In this diptych, Mbark, the caretaker, stands in the interior of an abandoned synagogue in Amzrou, a kasbah in southern Morocco. His recitations of the names of the Jewish families who used to live in the area act as markers to a community that no longer exists.

Camera: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Audio mix: Patrick Andrew Boivin

         like a figure from a Rembrandt painting
         he stands illuminated by light
         veiled by dust
         bewildered, confused, surprised

         through all this we are closely observed
         in total confusion
         by Mbark, the guardian
         cradling, fondling, in constant motion
         to the rhythm of prayer
         his silver lock and key

         the insistent buzz of flies
         recall the verses of Hebrew prayer
         from generations past
         and I know
         I cannot capture lost time

Note: The subject of the Moroccan series concerns the Jewish Berbers of southern Morocco who lived there for 2500 years. The work is a poetic evocation of a place and marks the dispersion of a society from its home, its place of origin. It is the result of research, interviews and several trips that I made to southern Morocco, starting in 1981 that culminated in a series of videos, photographs and drawings.

Morning, 2009

Morning, 2009 (excerpt)
Running time: 1:33 minutes / HD / colour

In the distance of a dark long tunneled Kasbah road we see an opening with light – the silhouette of a woman with a child on her back emptying a pail of water appears from light and disappears into light.

Location: The entrance to the mellah (the Jewish quarter in Amzrou), a kasbah in Southern Morocco.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Audio: Silent

         a young man announces
         “this is the entrance to the Mellah”
         the Jewish quarter
         but they are gone”

         a square patch of light
         at the other end of the tunnel,
         masks
         the dance of a woman with a child on her back
         holding a bucket
         in a splash
         she disappears

Wall: A Triptych, 2009

Wall: A Triptych, 2009 (excerpt)
Running time: 6:37 minutes / HD / colour

Light reveals and conceals. In this triptych, a light patch travels through time on the wall of an abandoned synagogue in Amzrou, a kasbah in southern Morocco. The original sequence in real time is 22 minutes. For this triptych, it has been divided into 3 sections enabling the viewer to experience it in the past, present and future.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Audio: Silent

Note: The subject of the Moroccan series concerns the Jewish Berbers of southern Morocco who lived there for 2500 years. The work is a poetic evocation of a place and marks the dispersion of a society from its home, its place of origin. It is the result of research, interviews and several trips that I made to southern Morocco, starting in 1981 that culminated in a series of videos, photographs and drawings.

Dust and Light, 2009

Dust and Light, 2009 (excerpt)
Running time: continuous loop / HD / colour

Dust illuminated by light floats in space.
Location: an abandoned synagogue in Amzrou, a kasbah in southern Morocco.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Audio: Silent

Pise, the traditional material used in the buildings of the area is as free as the earth. It is the ground one walks on. It is in a continual state of erosion, shedding fine dust. Today, after years of abandonment, the synagogue is filled with layers of dust accumulated over generations.

The subject of the Moroccan series concerns the Jewish Berbers of southern Morocco who lived there for 2,500 years. The work is a poetic evocation of a place and marks the dispersion of a society from its home, its place of origin. It is the result of research, interviews and several trips that I made to southern Morocco, starting in 1981 that culminated in a series of videos, photographs and drawings.

Marrakech: Jewish Cemetery, 2009

Marrakech: Jewish Cemetery, 2009
Running time: 18:08 minutes / HD / black & white

This triptych is a meditation of the Jewish cemetery in Marrakech.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Audio Design: Patrick Andrew Boivin

Adib Hammad, 2009

Adib Hammad, 2009 (excerpt)
Running time: 5:25 minutes / HD / colour

A portrait of Abdib Hamad, a seventy-four-year-old imam in his home in the mellah, in the old Jewish quarter in Tagadirt, a small village in southern Morocco.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Audio mix: Patrick Andrew Boivin

During my visit to Tagadirt, a small village in southern Morocco, I had the privilege of meeting Adib Hamad, a 74 Imam who lives with his family in one of the homes in the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter. He shared with me the history and stories of the Jewish community who had lived there before they left in the mid 1950s. He was gracious and warm and welcomed me to his home.

Fragment No. 3, 2009

Fragment No. 3, 2009 (excerpt)
Running time: continuous loop / HD / colour

Fragments from a Hebraic bible were found on the ground of the synagogue in Tagadirt, located in a small village in southern Morocco. Fragment I, II & III are designed as continuous loops and can be shown individually or together in the same space.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Brigitte Dajczer, Sylvia Safdie
Audio: Silent

         Sometimes, something buried reveals itself,
         Clearly, silently, motionlessly; then it disappears.

         Stones are dust,
         Life is breath.

Note: The subject of the Moroccan series concerns the Jewish Berbers of southern Morocco who lived there for 2500 years. The work is a poetic evocation of a place and marks the dispersion of a society from its home, its place of origin. It is the result of research, interviews and several trips that I made to southern Morocco, starting in 1981 that culminated in a series of videos, photographs and drawings.

Prayers, 2009

Prayers, 2009 (excerpt)
Running time: 7:13 minutes / HD / colour

The relationship between sound and place is explored in the synagogue of Oufran, southern Morocco. The audio consists of Muslim prayers recorded while filming the synagogue, and of Jewish prayers recorded in Moulain Ighir, Morocco, in November 2009.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie
Audio Design: Patrick Andrew Boivin

Note: Ifrane, Anti Atlas was an ancient home to a 2000-year-old Jewish population, the oldest in Morocco. In 1958 they left as a group to settle in Israel. The exact age of the synagogue is unclear, with some dating its origins to the 1620s and others to over 1800 years ago. Its structure represents a classic Berber Jewish format, with interior benches along the walls (which feature small windows and slots for candles) and an elevated central platform for the service leader illuminated by an overhead skylight.

Figures and Grounds II, 2009

Figures and Grounds II, 2009 (excerpt)
Running time: 5:31 minutes / HD / colour

Earth and oil are used as a foundation both as material for painting and as a metaphor for transformation.

Painting: Sylvia Safdie
Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Brigitte Dajczer, Sylvia Safdie
Audio: Silent

NOTE: In 1996 I started using earth and oil as my material for drawing and painting. In this extensive ongoing series I explore the aspect of transformation, as well the gestures and movements of the body. We are in constant motion. Within seconds the gestures we make disappear and evaporate. Movement is life; life is movement. Our gestures in the present connect us to the past and to the future. They are our lifelines. In the series of videos titled ‘Figures and Grounds’, I continue to explore the process of transition and transformation.

Figures and Grounds III, 2009

Figures and Grounds III, 2009 (excerpt)
Running time: 7:03 minutes / HD / colour

Earth and oil are used as a foundation both as material for painting and as a metaphor for transformation.

Painting: Sylvia Safdie
Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Brigitte Dajczer, Sylvia Safdie
Audio: Silent

NOTE: In 1996 I started using earth and oil as my material for drawing and painting. In this extensive ongoing series I explore the aspect of transformation, as well the gestures and movements of the body. We are in constant motion. Within seconds the gestures we make disappear and evaporate. Movement is life; life is movement. Our gestures in the present connect us to the past and to the future. They are our lifelines.In the series of videos titled “Figures and Grounds”, I continue to explore the process of transition and transformation.

Head IV, 2009

Head IV, 2009
Running time: 5:20 / HD / black & white

In this self portrait, head, shadows and water come together in a work on transformation and meditation.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Patrick Andrew Boivin, Sylvia Safdie