Photos

This Week in Photos: Zakaria Wakrim

Moroccan photographer Zakaria Wakrim shares his photo series featuring the landscapes of Southeastern Morocco.

This is the third installment of our weekly photo series, featuring the work of African photographers.


Vast, open spaces.

Blue skies riddled with an overlay of clouds.

Whether the roads, mountains, ocean or desert lie below, Moroccan photographer Zakaria Wakrim seeks to evoke the feeling of Amarg’—the Amazigh (Berber) word for 'nostalgia'—through his photo series showcasing the landscapes of Southeastern Morocco.

Amarg’ is also used to signify a hybrid form of musical poetry found in Southern Morocco,” he adds via email to Okayafrica. “Southeastern Morocco presents a strange combination of different kinds of empty spaces, huge and desolated, ranging from the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert.”

“Life is seldom found in these lands, which impart an almost metaphysical feeling, forcing one to conjure meanings or answers to their questions that will continue to remain as elusive as the very nature of these places themselves,” Wakrim continues.

Another element seen in Amarg’ is a person wearing a djellaba, an outfit typically seen in North Africa in places including Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

“There has always been a particular aura associated with the garment, and this series focuses on the pairing of a sort of mystical figure wearing the djellaba with the vast and boundless terrain over which he traverses daily,” he says.

For Wakrim, he wants those who see the photos in the Amarg’ series to know the desert’s ability to spark introspection and enlightenment.

“The extreme nothingness of these landscapes casts a spell upon those who visit them” he says. “Anyone who has known life in these silent realms is familiar with the feelings of solitude and desolation they bring; yet, they regard them with a certain happiness nonetheless. In this context, this feeling of happiness/nostalgia (or, wanderlust) relates to a sentimentality not for the past, but rather for those rare moments in which one can contemplate their pure self.”

Take a look at Amarg’ below, and check out more of Wakrim’s work on his website:

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Amarg' by Zakaria Wakrim.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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