Delia Cabral and Mark Blatchford went on a vast, tumultuous, endlessly fascinating tour of the Middle East and North Africa so that you wouldn’t have to — but would want to. They have returned with images and artifacts from these most photogenic of regions to lure you there. Mark and Delia are not mere tourists, nor even old-style adventurers, but modern-day visitors to lands and cultures and people they feel the need to know better. As artists, they embrace the foreign as family, the other as another part of their own souls, and they come back from Morocco and Egypt, Jordan and Syria that much more enchanted and engaged than when they left.
Recognizing that we all fancy ourselves connected with everywhere and everyone, Delia and Mark give the rest of us a vivid taste of what we must eventually behold. Happily, they are not caught up in their journey but in the places, and people, themselves. They do not condescend; they do not fall into Orientalist stylization or pulp-fiction romanticism. They allow themselves to be charmed, frustrated, lured and baffled by turns, so that they can recognize each place, urban and rural, cosmopolitan and indigenous, acculturated and natural, for what it is, has been, and can be.