How do you preserve a language that's in danger of being forgotten? Turn it into art. The Sherman Gallery at Boston University is currently running an exhibition of works by Moroccan artist Hamid Kachmar, who for twenty years has been using his paintings to help keep alive an embattled, indigenous language. Tifinagh is the ancient script of the Berbers, a minority ethnic group in Morocco to which Kachmar belongs. Tifinagh has been suppressed historically in Morocco, but Kachmar makes the script's intricate symbols the main element of his colorful art. In some pieces, like the first one below, "Timitar 1 Symbols in Symbiosis," the symbols are presented in neat fashion, as if they were being catalogued. In others, like the bottom image, "Tafsut Berber Spring," Kachmar uses the symbols in more abstract form, to create images that evoke the Berber language's complicated place in Moroccan culture.
"Hamid Kachmar: Reviving the Ancient Tifinagh Script" runs at the Sherman Gallery from September 6-October 20.
Images courtesy of the Boston University College of Fine Arts.
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