“Ghzala” is a series of sugar sculptures that questions the performative mercantile hospitality that governs the relationship between tourists and locals in post colonial countries and beyond.
The project takes as a starting point the famous passage of the 21st Chapter of the “Little Prince” where the Fox teaches the child how to tame him in order to build a genuine connexion.
During her two-months residency in Marrakech, the artist adventured outside of the touristic paths of the Medina to found herself by chance in a local flea market where local men used to come daily to buy and sell personal belongings in an improvised auction circle. She felt mesmerized by the authenticity of this place but also by the very masculine dynamic that dominated it. Despite her status of a “Western foreign woman”, she decided to apply the rules of “how to tame and get tamed” described by the Fox in Saint-Exupéry’s book in an attempt to build genuine human links. She kept a diary of each of these interactions, documenting how the untold, but all-too-obvious barriers of sex and nationality that was separating her from them, was progressively altering and how the performative hospitality that is used to creating relationship between locals and tourists was shifting in the a more balanced and genuine connection.
In “Ghzala”, she uses the symbol of the traditional Moroccan sugar loaf, called Qalb soukar, an epitome of the art of giving and receiving hospitality for centuries, to represent each human connexion that was created between her and some of the dozens of Marrakshi that formed this local community. The deeper the emotional link was progressing, the more she was breaking the sugar loaf in small piece. The remains of each Qalb (including the pieces that had been broken) were then air-vacuumed , creating dozens of sculptures all made of 2kg of sugar but each symbolizing by its shape a unique human link. Inspired by the Enmer corporation that holds the monopoly on the Moroccan sugar industry, she created her own brand, Ghzala, that used a logo reminiscent of the one featured in the packagings of the State-controle company but where the red tiger had been replaced by a red antelope. Displayed in line on store shelves in their plastic air-vacuumed packaging, each sugar sculpture offer for sell what has not price, human links.