A. Slaoui; Malika Editions (1997); available from Malika Editions, 113, boulevard de la Resistance, Casablanca, Morocco, fax +212-2-251651 ; 144 pages, about 250 color reproductions, 34 x 25 cm, hardcover; ISBN 2-9510386-0-7; 380 FFR (about 70 US$); in french
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Blue sky, yellow sand, palm trees and camel rides, mosques, and harems well stocked with seductive women smoking Camel cigarettes (what else?), this is the image of the "Orient" that travel agents wanted us to have of the countries around the southeast of the Mediterranean.
While some of the cliches of colonial exotism have now faded, we can fortunately still admire the posters of the era that moroccan businessman Abderrahman Slaoui has painstakingly assembled during the past years. A private exhibition of his collection in Marrakech in 1994 was such a success that the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris had another show in 1996, which eventually led to this book.
Most of the tourist posters are on Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, but Istanbul and Bethlehem are also represented, for example. The book also includes commercial posters that promote everything from fine soap for the "pearl of the serail" to algerian maccaroni.
La belle Fatma
no date, Charles Levy, Paris
Poster for the french cabaret Folies Bergeres, promising that this oriental lady can be seen daily in the garden, with no surcharge
Federations des Syndicats d'Initiative de Tunisie
1928, H.G. Jossot
Poster for the federation of tourist offices in Tunisia
Tripoli - Libia
1934, G. Ferrari
Poster for the italian state tourist office ENIT
Chemins de fer de l'Etat egyptien
1935, F.H. Coventry, Ateliers Kalfa, Cairo
Poster for the egyptian state railway company
The pictures are accompanied by an excellent historical review from
Abdelaziz Ghozzi, detailing the role of the steamship, railway and airline
companies in the development of the oriental poster, and on the influence
of oriental exhibitions and fairs, both in Europe and in North Africa. An index
on countries, cities, designers and printers and a short bibliography completes
a book far off the beaten track. A pioneering work, very enjoyable!