Fatima Killeen The Irony of Al Andalus 2003 Mixed media on wood 70cm x 90cm
Arabic script reads: “The only conqueror is God”
Spain owes [its’] importance of history largely to the Arab-Muslims. The Moors conquered a large area of the country from 710-1492. They gave it the name of Al Andalus, along with many great cultural achievements. To this day, the great architectural testaments of the Moors, such as the Alhambra and the Great Mosque of Cordoba, form the pillars of modern Spanish tourism. The Moors are now the excluded ones, the outcasts and the illegal immigrants from North Africa, especially Morocco.
Many perish attempting to reach the Spanish shores. Small boats often capsize during the journey across the Straits of Gibraltar. Those who reach Spain are committed to a life of work as cheap labour. Illegal Moroccan workers sustain the Spanish economy, which would disintegrate without their labour. They live in slums, without access to proper housing or education for their children.
Residency for most illegal workers is a dream.