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Versos para el cielo del Rif
Verses for the Rif Sky

Wooden panels and blueback paper, 200x75cm each, 2023
In collaboration with graphic designer Montasser Drissi

The plane appeared,
circling like a crow.
Oh my god! Keep it away
from the mountains of Ait Ouriaghel.

The site-specific installation Versos para el cielo del Rif draws upon “The Song of Mount Abarran”, an anonymous epic poem from 1921 that was crafted by various Riffian tribes through oral transmission and that recalls their resistance against Spanish colonialism during the Rif War. Several of the verses describe the terror caused by aerial warfare and the use of chemical bombs against civilians, a collective punishment perpetrated by the Spaniards as a revenge for their blatant defeat in Abarran, Annual and other locations. The verse chosen for the installation refers to the land of the Ait Ouriaghel tribe, whose name translates as “those who do not retreat” and to which the leader Abd al-Karim al-Khattabi belonged. Working as a footnote to the film, the panels placed on the roof of the art center connect by means of poetry the sky of present day Madrid with the one of the Rif more than a century ago and serve as a reminder that these warcrimes have yet not been recognized by Spain.

Fragment of “El cantar del Monte Abarrán” (source: Editorial Diwan Mayrit, 2021)
Original text in Tarifit and translation to Spanish
Font: Immortel Vena by Clément Le Tulle-Neyret with two custom glyphs by Montasser Drissi for the Tarifit panel.

Installation views of the solo show Tetuan, Tetuán, Titwan (Chapter 2) at La Casa Encendida, Madrid, 2023. More info.

Photos by Maru Serrano / La Casa Encendida 2023