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The Port of رحس  (Sihr)

Gugulethu Mthembu



Sumayya Vally


12R - An African Almanac

My Major Design Project, the Port of رحس ,is situated between these two constructs. At one level, it draws on the world of Moroccan mythology and folklore, both of which are very prevalent and play significant roles in daily life and belief systems of many Moroccans. On another level, it draws on feminine forms or forms of expression related to and expressing the feminine. Situated across three sites significant to the re-dressing of histories and legacies of female oppression and representation, the project takes the form of new story for Aicha Qandisha, one in which she is repatriated across the three sites - a concubine slave ship, the court of law and the King’s palace.  

A mashrabiya, is an architectural element which is characteristic of Arabic architectures. It is a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework. It is used as a veiling device to shield women in the home (or historically, the harem*) from prying eyes of men. Drawing on this construct, the Major Design Project proposes a number of new, reconfigured mashrabiya - playing critically with Arabic and Islamic codes and forms of feminine identity as a material for designing and consolidating physical and visual representation for women in the built environment.  

The Port of رحس literally re-dresses the three sites, in its architecture and the new constructed narratives that play out on the sites. It draws on the notions of mashrabiya and burqa and other architectural and cultural dressings and adornments related to the female and concept of veilings and proposes new forms which seek to express, represent and empower the image of women.

Prologue -The Birth of Aicha Qandicha. Mthembu, G. Unit 12. 2019

Act 01 - The Former Royal Palace: The Corset. Mthembu, G. Unit 12. 2019

Act 02 - The Department of Police: The Corset. Mthembu, G. Unit 12. 2019

Act 03 - The Port of Headpiece: The Corset. Mthembu, G. Unit 12. 2019

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