Café Deluxe / Café Wade ZineFatima El Amrani
Province of Ouezzane, Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen, Morocco
About the Artist/Site
A striking display of Egyptian-themed sculptures are scattered on the front lawn in front of this “Café-Gallery;” although the building is set back from the road that joins Fes and Ouezzane in northern Morocco, the adornment immediately catches the eye of passersby, and a large parking lot easily accommodates visitors. There are prancing horses, resting camels, and pharaonic figures and busts; roughly half-size, they are built of clay that is then covered in plaster to make a mold; once the mold has dried and is ready, it is filled with resin, which hardens into a solid shell. The final paint colors of white or gold contrast dramatically with the green grass of the lawn and the powerful blue of the Café’s exterior walls.
But while the exterior is arresting, the interior of the Café is even more unusual. It is completely ornamented; the Egyptian theme continues with pharaonic images of the boy King Tutankhamen on the walls and chairs, designs and hieroglyphics covering the interior columns, bas-relief gold-colored plaques on the walls, and stylized celestial bodies covering the ceiling. A corner section includes golden throne-like chairs flanking a non-functioning fireplace topped with a bird goddess; to the side are two freestanding figures, dressed in the garb of early Egyptian dynasties.
Fatima El Amrani, a native of this area of northern Morocco just south of the city of Ouezzane, studied fine arts at the school in Tetouan (roughly 100 kilometers further north), and then moved to Egypt where she lived for three years. She has a diploma in theatre arts, and she worked in the Egyptian cinema industry during her time abroad. Her skills in sculpture and display/set design are clearly evident in the ornamentation of her site.
Moving back to her home region after living and working in Egypt, she brought her love of that iconography and imagery with her. Her son, Zakaria, helps out with her project, and has painted the pharaonic and other images on the chairs of the Café. Fatima has also given rein to the laborers who have helped her with her creations; although they have no art background, they designed and constructed a new “barbecue” area which will serve grilled meats outdoors when the weather is good.
The exterior sculptures and Café façade are easily viewable even if the restaurant is closed; when open, Fatima El Amrani and/or her family members and friends warmly welcome visitors.
~Jo Farb Hernández
Map & Site Information
Province of Ouezzane, Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen ma
Latitude/Longitude: 34.795373 / -5.567558
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