Before the pandemic began I was living in North Africa, taking classes in Media Arabic and working with university students from West and East Africa who were interested in business English or were required to present their Theses in English and French at Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah University. I was very interested in intra-MENASA racial/cultural conflict, cultural exchanges between West and North Africa and the legacies of the Indian Ocean and Trans-Saharan slave trades. I began exploring the history of the broadening of the enslavement of Black Africans by Middle Eastern and North African regimes, driven by the decree that a Muslim must not enslave another Muslim. In the 8th century skepticism as to the legitimacy of The Islam practiced in West Africa served to ease any untoward political repercussions of enslaving Black people and among them, Muslims from Black tribes. I planned to move from Morocco to Mauritania, which has been dealing with the legacy of hundreds of years of multi-generational racially based slavery. I was able to speak with Black Mauritians, Moroccans, Djiboutians, and Ivorians about their experiences of race, identity, and Islam in Morocco but these informal investigations were put on hold in 2020. I was unsure of what form those interests and concerns could ever take, the images recorded here were quickly captured on phones or cheap cameras. They are not necessarily intended for display as 'art'. In graduate school I am interested in exploring methods to expand my art-practice to deal with these cultural themes that I care about outside of the aesthetics of the fantasy world I have created my most recent work in.
Documentation of "Treasures of Islam in Africa, from Timbuktu to Zanzibar" Exhibition at The Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Lauren Howie, Phone Capture, 2019
Documentation of Afros in Ads, Lauren Howie, Phone Capture, 2021
Photos of time spent in Ben Debbab, Fes