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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
How do we use walking as an art form? How do we use walking as an art form?

Omar Afif



ما كل ما يتمنئ المره يدركه تجري الرياح بمى لا تشتهي السفن
Abou el Tayeb al Mutanabbi
An exploration of hospitality, mobility and exchange

Omar Afif is a musician, chef, boat builder and craftsman from Essaouira, on the Moroccan Atlantic coast. Now living in Aberdeenshire, he joined us for a six month residency at the beginning of 2016, to explore his diverse talents from the Gnawa tradition, within the Huntly community.

A caravanserai is a traditional roadside inn where travelers, and their camels, could rest and recover from the day's journey. They supported the flow of commerce, information and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia and North Africa into Europe. These inns brought traders together, creating a platform for cultural and economic exchange. At its smallest point, Morocco is only separated from Europe by 8 miles, over the Straight of Gibraltar. On a fine day you can easily see Africa from Europe and vice versa. Despite this, for many, the psychological distance between these continents is staggering. With this in mind, we considered what it means to have a home; can home only exist in one place? What does it mean to be a nomad, a migrant or a settler today?


Caravanserai fostered this culture of exchange by bringing people together through a programme of ‘pop-ups’ and structured activities –with or without a camel. This ranged from music making and teaching, cooking to instrument making and dancing to boatbuilding, Omar revealed the value of sharing culture and practical skills that have been handed down over generations. With an emphasis on people and relationships, Caravanserai explored hospitality, mobility and exchange on both a local and global scale. By drawing on his personal experience of gaining UK citizenship, Omar investigated what it means to be a migrant as an individual. This brought in issues such as peace, freedom of movement and the public perception of migrants.

Caravanserai paved the way for a cultural enterprise that focuses on cooking and the sharing of food; intercepted with other forms of craft and music. 


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