Art in the Service of Colonialism: French Art Education in Morocco.

Position:Brief Article - Book Review

Art in the Service of Colonialism

French Art Education in Morocco


By Hamid Irbouh

[pounds sterling]45 I B Tauris

ISBN 1-85043-851-X

Author Hamid Irbouh throws new light on how the Moroccan French Protectorate (1912-1956) transformed and dominated Moroccan society. He does this by looking at how the arts and crafts were transformed in the colonial period, arguing that during the Moroccan Protectorate, the French imposed their domination through a systematic modernisation and regulation of local arts and crafts.

The French also introduced Moroccans to industrial life by establishing vocational and fine arts schools. The French archives, Arabic sources and oral testimonies, which Irbouh used, demonstrate the complex relationships between colonial administrators of both genders and their interactions with Moroccan officials, notables and the poor.

The French co-opted some locals into joining these educational institutions, which respected and reinforced familiar pre-Protectorate social structures.

But Irbouh also focuses on how French women...

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