Painted Rocks of Tafraout

Land art, Painted Rocks of Tafraout

The rocks, painted in 1984 by the Belgian artist Jean Vérame, are located in the arid mountains of southern Morocco, not far from the picturesque town of Trafraout, a few kilometres south of the small village of Ageid Oulad and are scattered over about 5 km.

Logistics at the height of the project

Painted mostly blue, this “artistic” diversion of nature required in the 19 tons of paint conveyed by a whole bunch of trucks.

The weather, the natural erosion due to the various bad weather and the goats great lovers of argan trees which grow on the spot, everything concurred so that this painting is dispersed in lands often free of pollution, like the landscape.

Many people have questioned this need to paint rock piles whose natural colours are already splendid, making Jean Vérame a man at work very controversial. “In the desert, a blue pinhead keeps the evil eye away, so I, with my blue rocks, was well received”.

A work despite everything questionable…

Tafraout’s painted rocks were not his first attempt. From 1965 his art began to flourish in different French regions: Alpes Maritimes, Pyrénées-Orientales, Corse, Normandie (1979).

In 1978, he invested a canyon in Texas, then moved to Sinai where in 1980-81 he painted rocks on 12 different areas of a surface of 80 km2 on the Hallaoui plateau.

The blue rocks of Tafraout were built in 1984-85. Then came in 1989 the tour of the Tibesti massif in northern Chad.

A shepherd of the Cévennes who reproached him for poisoning his goats after having painted the bed of a river, he retorted: “That his goats did not become poisoned more than by inhaling the exhaust fumes of his car” … simplistic answer!

One of her historian friends defused this incipient guilt: “… and Lascaux, the pyramids of Egypt, the dolmens… everywhere man left his trace” … mmm, it should nevertheless be mentioned that the bays used for painting in those remote times were not polluting.

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