Sailors of the Desert
Activity developed by Moroccan artist Rachid Ouhni in the oasis of Tighmert during the worshop Warsha Sahara organised by Marsad Drâa.
It was a research about how children use the public space, for this reason, the artist asked the children what they do during their free time in the oasis and they answered ship races, so the next day they prepared it, in the middle of the desert...
The next step was to find water in one of the many canals of the oasis. The question was: Where could we find water? Ahmed Dabah explained us during the search how it worked the water distribution, water that comes from the spring situated 2 km away from the palm grove.
After trying in several canals, they finally found one where water flowed quickly, so they could do the race.
This activity let us discover the irrigation system of most of the oases in southern Morocco, with two calendars, one in summertime with 34 days and another in winter with 33 days. For 24h, people work diverting water from one canal to another, one day they can get water at 3pm and next month it can be another day of the week at another time, maybe at 3am, that means there is a huge social interactivity thanks to the irrigation system. Even more, the economical organisation of the inhabitants depends on this irrigation system, as well as the urban planning because the last plot of the oasis to get water at the end of the day, will have the water remained in the canals, that is to say, they will have more water, that's the reason way those plots are more expensive, because they own more water.
credit all images and videos: Carlos Perez Marin