Moroccan Painter Abdelfettah Karmane Wins Two Awards for ‘El Guerrab’

The watercolor painting is 113 centimeters long and 81 centimeters large.

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Moroccan painter Abdelfettah Karmane has won two medals in international art competitions, Morocco’s state media reported today, December 31.

The artist won a gold medal, awarded by the Grand Jury of French art collective Mondial Art Academia, and a silver medal, awarded by the International Masters Watercolor Alliance.

More than 1,100 artists participated in the competitions, the Moroccan painter told the press.

Abdelfettah Karmane earned the awards for his 2019 watercolor painting “El Guerrab” (The water carrier).

Guerrabs, or water carriers, are people dressed in a multi-colored costume who distribute and sell water in Moroccan ancient medinas. They are typically known for carrying water in a large leather-made flask and announcing their presence with a bell.

In the past, Guerrabs played an important role in the daily life of Moroccans, providing thirsty workers with fresh water to drink.

Nowadays, however, with bottled water available everywhere, Guerrabs are mainly a tourist attraction, serving water or posing for photos in exchange for a few dirhams.

Abdelfettah Karmane - El Guerrab (2019)Abdelfettah Karmane, El Guerrab, Watercolor on mounted paper, 113 x 81 cm, 2019

Abdelfettah Karmane’s award-winning painting captures the core and identity of a Guerrab and his job. It depicts an old water carrier standing in front of a wall decorated with a traditional Moroccan zellige pattern.

The detailed wrinkles in El Guerrab’s skin and his facial expression attest to the man’s life journey, from an essential actor in society to a figure for young people to pose with.

“The painting is inspired by the human soul, identity, and memory, which manifests itself through the different cultural aspects of the Moroccan-Andalusian heritage,” the painter said. “The canvas transcribes deep emotions, representing both shadow and light.”

Born in Sidi Slimane, near Kenitra, Abdelfettah Karmane graduated from the School of Plastic Arts in Rabat. He has been creating artworks for more than 36 years.

The painter has exhibited his work in several national and international museums and won several awards, including two gold medals in Morocco, four gold medals in France, and a silver medal in China.