January 27, 2009

dancing in the refugee camps

Those sketches where done at the saharawi Refugees camps at Tindouf, Algeria, these people share with the Mauritanians the same arabe dialect, a love for poetry and a rich oral tradition. They wear the same clothes and share many other common things but their history evolved differently during the periods when they were colonised by two different countries, Western Sahara by Spain, Mauritania by France and the story goes on...

Mooresses wear a five meter long piece of cloth that they wrap around themselves with the help of two small knots in the fabric that allow the head to slip in and an arm and then is wrapped around their head and shoulders.

During the weddings and when they get together women dance using the fabric to cover or uncover themselves. Their hands and fingers move like butterflies on flight and for me it all looks very sensual.

The young man here is singing at a wedding, woman take turns to dance and contrary to Mauritania where its usual to men to get up and dance here in the camps I never saw that.

In a girls get together a new way of dancing where hip and belly movements were incorporated I could tell of the influence of Algerian and a other arabic countries styles that they watch on satellite t.v. music programs.
You can find more about life in the camps on my blog http://sahara.uniterre.com


  1. Isabel, I've enjoyed looking at your blog - your sketches here are just wonderful -so full of life, love and movement.

  2. Nice sketches Isabel. I particularly enjoy the ones where you've added color washes to indicate the elaborate dress.

  3. I love these loose dancing lines and washes. Wonderful.

  4. great! i feel like dancing myself

  5. Hello Isabel. I was amazed at reading your profile on flickr. Seems like a very interesting and unique path you've taken. I'm blown away by your sketches especially these with flowing and patterned pieces of cloth. The textures and colours are wonderful.
    Impressive work.


  6. Great drawings and stories, thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks all for your comments and Karen I really liked the colours patterns and images from your blog

  8. If you are willing to learn to dance with the help of online dance lessons, than you can avail dance video and easy to follow dance instruction dvd. For more online dance sites you can visit : http://www.learn-dance-online.com/dance_directories.html