May 12, 2009


These are from a sketchbook I did in 2005 when I visited the ancient town of Walata in the East of Mauritania,1.300km from the capital, Nouakchott. Walata was a busy town from the XIII century until the XIX, as she was a place where the camel caravans coming from Timbuckt laden with salt had to pass.

What's amazing about this town is that each year after the rain season the women would repaint with her fingers the outside of the houses with elaborated drawings whose symbolisation is lost for most of todays inhabitants. Some of the inner rooms of the houses have alsopaintings covering the whole of the walls. In 2005 some people were already starting to use industrial paints instead of the natural coloured clays found in the region.

I'll post some more drawings in the next few days.


  1. Wonderful sketchbook pages Isabel - I've been seeing quite a lot on TV about Mauritania lately - a travel show, and on Oprah, and it's such a delight to 'recognise' the scenes and people from having looked at your sketches.

  2. Isabel me encanta el colorido de este post!!
    los azules árabes, los rojos!!
    y ese papel color arena!
    (el segundo me gusta especialmente)

  3. Paginas e paginas deliciosas!
    Lindo, que inveja deves ter todo o tempo do mundo!

  4. Estão lindos. E a digitalização também está muito melhor.

  5. Finalmente regressaste aos post. E logo em grande, com esta viagem a Walata.
    A "foice" é uma gadanha, atributo iconográfico da morte, também representada por Saturno. É uma estátua famosa em Estremoz.

  6. Isabel, Oprah did a show on 'Beauty around the world' quite a while ago, we only get the programmes a good six months after USA - but here's a link to it on her website if you want to have a look - - look at the following page as well. They showed scenes around the country as well as the interview with this woman, Houda on TV - probably filmed before the coup d'etat!

  7. Hi
    this is really WONDERFUL! BTW I'm from that province ADRAR but now I'm living abroad.
    thank you very much.