Morocco Blues – why and how Morocco got painted blue

Elizabeth Gowing

Wednesday 20th April 2022

Morocco Blues – why and how Morocco got painted blue

Morocco Blues – why and how Morocco got painted blue draws on Elizabeth’s time in Morocco in visits spanning more than 25 years. The lecture focuses particularly on the stories behind the blue pigment used for the fishing boats and doorways of photogenic Essaouira on the Moroccan coast, and the Majorelle Blue developed and patented by French artist Jacques Majorelle in Marrakech in the 1920s. The story of Morocco’s blues takes us from Berber veils to Yves Saint-Laurent who restored Majorelle’s Marrakech garden, via Modernist Orientalist art and a protected mollusc ...

 

Elizabeth Gowing studied at Magdalen College Oxford before training as a teacher and working in Lambeth, Hackney and Islington. She moved to Kosovo in 2006 and there worked with the Ethnological Museum in Prishtina and co-founded ‘The Ideas Partnership’, a charity working on education and cultural heritage projects. Elizabeth speaks fluent Albanian and has translated two books (the unauthorized biography of Yugoslavia’s longest-held political prisoner, Adem Demaci, and the memoirs of one of the leaders of the 1912 uprising). She is also the author of four books about Kosovo – Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo (2011), Edith and I; on the trail of an Edwardian traveller in Kosovo (2013); The Rubbish-Picker’s Wife; an unlikely friendship in Kosovo (2015) and The Silver Thread; a journey through Balkan craftmanship (2017). She is a regular contributor to Radio 4 (Saturday Live, Excess Baggage, From Our Own Correspondent) and the BBC World Service. Elizabeth is a member of the advisory board of GuideKS, the NGO for Kosovan tour guides, and of the board of Faktoje, the Albanian fact-checking organisation.