Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Art Challenge: The Maghreb

(Pendersleigh and Sons cartography)

Turns out when you announce that the weekly art challenge is the 19th century Maghreb, you get a lot of colorful images of pretty Berber ladies. Frankly, I'm overjoyed- because you'll find in these images a lot of research into the garments and embellishments of the Amazigh culture and despite the stereotypical allure, no exposed midriffs. This week's challenge results also go to show that it doesn't all have to be brown and earth-tones to be steampunk. Let's have a look!

HOLY DISCLAIMER, BATMAN: Remember, this is someone else's work- so if you MUST link to show your pals, please either A. Go to the artist's website and ask permission. or B. Link back to the original artist (such as the case of tumblr or twitter). And please visit these fine folks' deviantarts or personal webpages- give them some likes, some praise, hell- give them a commission if you're able! (Because if there's one thing we artist types like, it's doing what we love AND getting paid to for it!)

Artist: Hannah Hem

Artist's Comments: Her design is based loosely on Algerian Berber merchants, with traditional Algerian harquus and jewelry women of the period would commonly wear.

Miss K's Comments: You even included a camel! I also liked how you used a dark blue for the harquus rather than a straight black. It adds great color depth and is probably a bit more accurate for tattooing.

Artist: Kallen

"Djinn in the Machine"

Artist's Comments: The area has a lot of Islamic influence, so I took the concept of a Djinni and played with it. In terms of what she's wearing, I guess it's some sort of kaftan-esque robe/dress thing, with Bedouin inspired jewelry. She's not any one particular culture of northern Africa, but rather several all rolled into a single being that brings to my mind images befitting of 'One Thousand and One Nights' and traditional Islamic folklore.

In Islamic folklore (and from pre-Islamic culture as well), Djinn are one of the three sentient beings (along with humans and angels) created by Allah, and are said to occupy a world parallel to our own. They can be good, bad, or neutral in nature. The word "Djinn" comes from the Arabic root for "to be hidden" which I think is delightful.

Miss K's Comments: Beautiful flow and good marriage of mechanical and biological (it took me a minute to see that her arm was actually a prosthetic). And I agree, Djinn are fascinating in Islamic folklore.

Artist: Ana Kronicity

Artist's Comments: I was inspired somewhat by the Berber/Amazigh people of Morocco.  The girl is riding to the city to sell handwoven rugs and some mechanical odds and ends, and since I figured she would come into contact with French colonists or soldiers during her trades, I wanted to add in some Western elements (such as the hat and riding boots) without overshadowing the overall Amazigh-ness of her outfit.  I wanted to keep the technological aspect to a minimum, since not everyone in a steampunk world would have access to steam engines and the like, especially not a tribe in the mountains of Morocco.  It turned out a lot sloppier than I intended, 1) because I haven't drawn anything in a really long time and 2) I've never drawn camels before.  I had a lot of fun with the textiles, though.

Miss K's Comments: Hoorah, another camel! I really appreciate your attention to detail in this one, down to the ornamentation on the saddle.

Artist: Novella Delphine

Artist's Comments: I didn't have enough time to finish it, but it's for the Multiculturalism for Steampunk contest on the Maghreb. I was so excited too. But that's what you get when you go to university and try to have a life.

Miss K's Comments: I feel your pain, Novella. But all the same, what you have here is spectacular! The clothing structure and accessories are great and I really hope you finish this!

Artist: Miss Kagashi

Artist's Comments: This is Selima bint Mustafa, a young Amazigh woman who has taken up tinkering wind generators for her family's treks out into the desert. I think my favorite part of painting this was picking all of the colors in her outfit. Fun fact: Heterochroma (mismatched eyes) is actually genetically frequent amongst Amazighs.

Thanks for participating, artists- our showing was small, but mighty! Our next challenge is *drumroll*:

C. 1817 (antique maps online)

Japan! This is indeed a big one with many possibilities. Steam-powered samurai, clockwork kamakuri, the Meiji Restoration, a non-Meiji alternative history where Perry's ass got handed to him! I already know what I'm doing and I hope you come up with some fun ideas for next week's challenge!


  1. The control of ordinary migratory flows is surely illusory since this phenomenon is in the order of things. Wars and other unrest throw local populations into the turmoil of dislocation and exile for security and survival. These migratory phenomena are not all of the same nature and call for differentiated solutions.

  2. Antoher batch of wonderfull creative design! These ladies are all beautifull and nicely done, I especially like.. Well it's hard to decide. I love the design of yours, Hannah and Delphine, but Ana's picture is charming and well thought (the small mechanicall part seem very logical!) and I have a soft spot for the djinn because.. well. Djinn :)

  3. This is my entry for Japan, showing my attempts to create a Meiji Steampunk persona

  4. For Japan! ^___^

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