In Arab, Atlasouna—the title of Abdelaziz Zerrou’s work—means “our Atlas.” A Titan of Greek mythology condemned by Zeus to carry the celestial vault, whose supporting columns are situated in the straight of Gibraltar, Atlas also marked the geography and the history of Maghreb. As the legend goes, Atlas bestowed his name to a cosmic mountain, extending from Agadir to Tunis. Greece and Morocco are linked by numerous similarities : past, present, and future.

Atlasouna (our Atlas), installation by Abdelaziz Zerrou, laureate of the HYam Prize in Hydra’s public space

Cradles of great civilizations with neighboring geographies, these two countries that each had to win their independence seem to pursue juxtaposed destinies. Today, are they not confronted with the ongoing issue of the borders of immigration? When Albert Camus referenced the Mediterranean and this “nationalism of the sun,“ which scrambled boundaries and limits at every level, did he not imagine an alternative path by which to circulate more peaceably? It’s from this Camus-like reflection that Abdelaziz Zerrou highlights “exiting the ranks.“

Atlas Mountains, from Agadir to Tunis

His sculpture/installation, which represents Mount Toubkal, the highest point of the Atlas Mountains, typically so faraway-seeming, becomes a familiar element both visually and sonorously. Teleported in a realist manner onto the public square, a space that belongs to everyone and to no one, Atlasouna is an aesthetic response that reveals a new sense of proximity and opens up a road less traveled. As though, under the Mediterranean sun, the land bound by history and the politics of the skies no longer are subject to demarcated lines.