(Traduction : Emmanuelle Andrès)
I hope you’re doing well. I will start out this conversation by telling you how and why I came to France. I will be speaking in the Amazigh language, which I haven’t spoken for six or seven years.
I arrived in France in 2001. I had graduated from high school in Oujda in fine arts. After graduating I registered at the University of Oujda in the law department. I didn’t like studying law, that’s why I applied to French universities.
I sent my resume and my application file to Bordeaux’s and Lyon’s fine art schools.
Both schools contacted me. That was in 2001.
I was notified that I was to take the French fine arts competitive exam. I then applied for a visa at the French Consulate in Tangier.
They accepted my application and I obtained my French visa in April 2001. When I arrived in France on 21 April, I spent a week in Bordeaux where I took my competitive entrance examination at the fine arts school there, but it didn’t work out. I then registered at an applied art school (EDAG). I studied for three years and graduated from that school. Then I registered in art history at the University of Bordeaux. However, my dream was to study in a fine arts school.
I sent my application to a fine arts school in Valence. In 2005 I took and passed the competitive entrance examination and got my fine arts degree after five years. I’ve just realized I have been speaking to you, but in not the Amazigh language. It is strange and difficult for me to practice this language and speak to you in Amazigh. It’s really not that easy…
As strange as it sounds, sometimes when I am speaking to my father on the phone I find myself unable to find words in my language; my father also points out to me he can tell how difficult it is for me to find my words. Every so often I have gone back to Morocco for an art project. When I am there, everything comes back to me: the words I am looking for, my language…
It’s true that the first time I met you, you told me you were from the northern part of Morocco, from the Rif and spoke the Amazigh language. I was surprised to hear that. It is not that easy to speak it when you are far from your country, far from your village. Next time I will spend more time speaking in the Amazigh language, I promise, if you can do the same.
If you can talk to me in Berber, I will answer in the same language, that’s that.
It could be the starting point of this back and forth exchange. We could talk about many things: about the weather, about art… about whatever you want… just to get this conversation started. Talk to you very soon, Fadma, goodbye.
Created by Badr Hammami and Fadma Kaddouri at l'Appartement 22
A transcript translated into Arabic will soon be available on the website