Forts, Firebases and Art: ways of seeing the conflict landscape of Africa’s last colony – Western Sahara

Author(s): Salvatore Garfi

Year: 2013

Summary

Spain colonised Western Sahara in 1884. Any Spanish sense of place in the territory was limited until the French ‘pacified’ the region in 1934, and the colony was girdled by French and Spanish forts. Spain ceded the colony to Morocco and Mauritania in 1975, and Spain’s disarticulated outposts were replaced by a matrix of earth and stone defensive walls (berms), constructed by the new colonizing power, Morocco, in its bid to secure the territory from nationalist Polisario fighters.

Viewing these defences, and other similar constructions in other parts of the world, through aerial photography and Google Earth, has inspired artists to confront the realities of modern conflict on the ground, through land art and installations, and through the aerial recording of these ‘traces and ruptures’ - surgical scars on the earth’s surface. It is this ‘calamitous actuality’ of colonialism and conflict which will be explored in this paper.

Cite this Record

Forts, Firebases and Art: ways of seeing the conflict landscape of Africa’s last colony – Western Sahara. Salvatore Garfi. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428467)

Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 330