In this, the last country in our World Showcase Exhibit Tour at Disney’s Epcot, we travel to the Morocco Pavilion for Morrocan Style: The Art of Personal Adornment at the Gallery of Arts & History. Without conducting a survey, my unofficial guesstimate is that Moroccan Style is one of the most overlooked experiences in World Showcase. The gallery is located near the front and on the left side of the Morocco Pavilion. Look for the ornate stained glass doors that are shaded by a blue awning and the exhibit sign. Step inside the gallery and you will find a museum-quality exhibit that celebrates the allure and the rich traditions of this North-African country.
What is personal adornment? An adornment includes items that are worn to enhance the appearance or status of the wearer and can be a visual statement of the traditions and identity of a culture. In Morocco, personal adornment embellishments include clothing, jewelry, textiles, and body art.
When you enter the Gallery of Arts & Letters, first, check out the architectural details of the space. To create the Morocco Pavilion, Imagineers took creative inspiration from several cities in Morocco and the traditions of Islamic architecture. Common elements include Moorish arches, bold geometric designs, delicate floral motifs, colorfully glazed tiles, and intricately carved wood.
In the exhibit’s glass display cases you will find samples of personal adornment that tell a story about Moroccan culture and its people. You can learn about the history and art of henna tattoos and the use of Kohl as a natural cosmetic and decoration. The exhibit shares accessories, such as jewelry and daggers that represent social standing and serve for spiritual protection. In vibrant hues of red, green, and yellow, the clothing and textiles in the exhibit beautifully depict the inspiration and the symbolism that flourish Moroccan clothing. In an elaborate alcove in the Gallery of Arts & Letters is a special exhibit about the Fantasia—a Moroccan festival that celebrates the importance of horsemanship in traditional culture.
Many of the World Showcase pavilions at Disney’s Epcot have rotating exhibits for guests to view and learn more about each country’s culture. For more information, check the Walt Disney World website, the My Disney Experience app, or ask a cast member.
Special Note: The American Heritage Gallery at Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion is currently closed for the installation of a brand new exhibit. Coming this summer—Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art.
(Exterior pavilion photo from the personal collection of K.S. Wicks. Other photos from the personal collection of Kendall Foreman.)
To learn more about K.S. Wicks and read some of her other posts on the WDW Radio Blog, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name above.