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Centre for Muslim States and Societies (CMSS)

Rekindling: An Australian Islamic Artisan Tour of Morocco

The CAAR funding to the Centre for Muslim States and Societies (CMSS) at The University of Western Australia was used to organise an artistic tour for six Australian artists from Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide to Morocco. Led by Ms Hamida Novakovich, the tour 'Rekindling: An Australian Islamic Artisans Tour of Morocco' brought the artists to Fes and Essaouira to work with local artisans to expand their knowledge of traditional Islamic arts in Morocco. By immersing themselves in local Moroccan culture, the artists selected (Niccy Pallant, Osama Mah, Tusif Ahmed, Majdi Faleh, Zahrah Habibullah and Sohail Yamin) were able to reflect on their artistic practice and be inspired to cultivate new ideas, skills and knowledge for their future. They were trained by traditional artisans and scholars Hamza El Fasiki, Imad-Eddine Dably and Anour Smarri amongst other, who exposed them to new practices in jewellery, painting, community arts, wood carving, mixed media, paper cutting and design.

The tour has enabled the CMSS to link artistic endeavours with building communal harmony in Australia. In Perth, Mr Tusif Ahmad trained members of the wider community in March 2019 in the art of papercutting. He also collaborated with the Centre to develop a proposal for an art project ‘Love Unites Us’ that would involve CaLD communities and wider community to create a large paper cutting art work centered around the idea of community unity and the Tree of Life.  The Adelaide Fringe Festival School program Mizan Zaman reached over 20 schools and community groups in2019.

Artists developed their understanding of Islamic, Moroccan and traditional arts building greater confidence in their own individual arts practices. Artists are looking at the idea of a national Guild of Islamic artists to promote traditional crafts and maintain connections to Master teachers and artisans in Morocco.

The Centre is grateful that the grant by CAAR has furthered its idea of using art as a space for interfaith and communal harmony.

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Drummaking workshop with host Imad-Eddine Dably at Riad 7 Stones, Essaouria, Morocco. Credit: Hamida Novakovich 2018.
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