Art & Photography / AnOther Happy Monday

Morocco's Unmissable Multicoloured Walls

The blue, pink and red squares painted to indicate 'blind walls' to builders have become a defining trait of Morocco's expanding cityscapes, photographer François Beaurain demonstrates

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Les Villas, ChefchaouenPhotography by François Beaurain

One of the greatest draws of travelling the world lies in seeing elements of other countries that tour-guides and onlookers are blind to – and if the traveller is a photographer, capturing these curiosities for prosperity is the greatest pleasure of all. French photographer François Beaurain’s vibrant new series, entitled Les Villas, is a prime example. Based between Paris and Rabat, Morocco, Beaurain has plenty of cause to travel the North African country’s beautiful landscapes, and over time he has come across a peculiar distinguishing characteristic throughout all those he sees: brightly coloured ‘blind walls’.

“Morocco has seen a rampant urban development in recent decades,” Beaurain explains. “There is a huge contrast between the maze of the traditional medinas and the SimCity-like suburbs where three-storey building are built one after the other. To cover the blind walls of these new buildings, Moroccan builders use mostly a red painting.” In theory, these walls are intended to be temporary fixtures, he continues: “they’re just supposed to stay until another promoter builds his house against the blind wall, and thus covers it. But the temporary sometimes lasts, and these red cubes can be now seen everywhere.”

The brightly coloured, Mondrian-like walls have become a signature landmark in contemporary Moroccan cityscapes – a strike of irony, Beaurain explains, given that they’re never really intended to be seen in the first place. Les Villas is a series the photographer has duly created over his travels through ten Moroccan cities: Tangier, Chefchaouen, Kenitra, Rabat, Salé, Bouznika, Taza, Skhirat, Marrakech and Ouarzazate. The resulting photographs, bolts of cobalt blue, terracotta red and candyfloss pink juxtaposed against the sky's deep hue, are bound to cheer you up this morning.

Happy Monday! #anotherhappymonday

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