Maybe life is always a series of maybes… maybe there are no great timings at all. Maybe we make our own timings and we just have to trust that everything will be ok. That our hearts are stronger, that our souls are wiser, and that our minds will be silenced enough for us to really live. And maybe just maybe, that is more than enough.
The Jardin Majorelle, located just on the outside of the old medina, was designed and envisioned by the painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) over the course of forty years. The garden is composed of a series of narrow pathways, filled with large trees, exotic plants and many different cactus that seem to stretch out to the heavens brought here from all corners of the earth. There are cacti, palm trees, bamboos, weeping willows, carob trees, jasmine and agaves, to name a few. As we wander, we hear the sound of water, smell the fragrances of beautiful flowers (maybe jasmines), the twittering of birds and feel the rough dry textures of the desert in our skin. On one side of the garden there is a large pond with gorgeous huge koi fish, that not only provides a moment of stillness and solitude, but makes it seem as if we are immersed in a Monet painting. Between the cooled pathways, the beautiful fountains and the colours that surround us, it makes it seem as if we are in a sort of paradise.
At the far end, emerging in between the beautiful pathways, a ‘house’ appears painted in bright blue. The building, which was Jacque’s art studio, is a sort of Moorish charm painted in blue because Jacques wanted to capture the bright blue he had experienced in the Atlas mountains. This shade of blue, which later became known as Majorelle blue, is a strong ultramarine, cobalt blue that enhances the green of the plants surrounding it, making it seem as if the garden is alive. Although the Jardin Majorelle only opened to the public in 1947, it was already widely known and revered for its beauty.
‘’ Jacques Majorelle used to say: “The painter has the modesty to regard this enclosure of floral verdure as his most beautiful work.” He referred to the garden as “ vast splendours whose harmony I have orchestrated… This garden is a momentous task, to which I give myself entirely. It will take my last years from me and I will fall, exhausted, under its branches, after having given it all my love.” ‘’ Source
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé discovered the Jardin Majorelle in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech, and instantly fell in love with it. After spending countless days there, they ended up buying it in 1980, saving it from being destroyed by a real estate project. They moved into the villa next door (Jacques previous house) and restored the gardens to their previous glory. Today the garden boasts of over 300 species and 20 permanent gardeners always keeping in perfect condition for its visitors. A haven, an oasis, a little paradise on earth, this garden truly is a wonder.
Moroccan architecture is known for their vivid and colourful design. But what do they mean? After some research I found that: The Blue represents Sky, Heaven, Water and Protection; The White represents cleanness, good luck, beauty and femininity. Red is female, sexuality, fertility, childbirth and also relates to a happy marriage. Green relates with the Muslim interpretation of heaven (a green oasis), and lastly Yellow relates to gold, wealth, sun and protection. The colour symbolism of each is not very different from our own colour symbolisms. However, when we observe these colourful and beautiful tiles, combining these colours in unique ways, it is important to remember what they mean and the complex message that they really convey.
The Berber museum is housed in the building that used to be Jacque Majorelle art studio, (adjacent to the Jardin Majorelle) and presents Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent’s personal collection of the Berber’s culture to the public. Pierre Bergé specially was fascinated with the Berber’s culture and art, and over the years, he collected their art in his travels throughout the different countries where they can be found. The exhibition itself was organised in three parts: the know-how (bowls and other ordinary objects), the art (specially the jewellry) and the clothing. They were true craftsmen, and they created everything they needed with an intricacy and delicacy that still astounds today. What profoundly amazed me were the jewel collection, which were truly ostentatious and exuberant. All made of silver, using chiselling, filigree and many other techniques with stones and small gems. They were an expression of the social status of the woman who wore them… one can imagine the strength and the nobility it granted them. Truly magnificent. I was forbidden to take pictures, so the cover photo is all I managed to get. (Ahaha). However, I found some pictures online of the jewels…
‘’ The Berbers, are among the original peoples of North Africa. Their myths, legends and history span 9,000 years, and can be traced to the Proto-Mediterraneans. They have achieved unity by maintaining their unique language and culture which are, like their land, both African and Mediterranean.’’ Source
Sometimes we have to loose our minds in order to be true to our own souls. We have to go a little mad, we have to dismiss of reasoning altogether, and we have to follow our intuition. Blindly. It’s not logical… but one thing is certain… it is quite extraordinary. The places it takes us are more beautiful than anything our wildest dreams could have ever conceived of. Shall we go crazy?