Last week I had the pleasure of presenting Raghba; The Inconsolable Longing, the first solo exhibition by Madison Davies at the newly renovated Hotel Ravesi's in Bondi Beach. A beachside icon, Ravesi's has undergone a total makeover. Downstairs has been totally opened up to welcome the summer crowds, as fresh pinks and greens now fill the space courtesy of Carina Hicks (also creator of @_theavalon_). Polished marble tables adorn the top level, in contrast with vintage style walls and buffed brass accents. It is truly gorgeous.
For one fun week I paired all this with Davies' vast landscapes of Moroccan oases, burnt landscapes and colourful streetscapes. Add in some good friends, stunners from Chic model management, a few bubbles from Pommery and we had Ravesi's first art show underway.
Through different mediums, Davies creates works that portray her relationship with nature and her passion for travel. Growing up in Sydney, Australia and currently residing in Byron Bay, Davies is inspired by coastal communities, surf culture and the raw beauty and love of the ocean. This, paired with her innate desire to travel and interest in ancient cultures makes up the subject of her work.
Raghba is the Arabic translation for the word desire. The inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know now what. A yearning for afar, familiar, non earthly land one can identify as ones home.
"Through this series of 35mm photographs I wanted to capture the raw beauty of a landscape I had always dreamed of visiting. They were taken on disposable film cameras over a three month period where I was living and travelling through Morocco alone. The contrast of the vast desert and the rugged coastline was one of the most pure and beautiful things I had ever seen and I was inspired by how grounded and connected I felt in a country so new to me," explains Madison Davies.
See the video exclusive for Buro 24/7 Australia in conjunction with Chic Model Management below:
What was the inspiration behind these images?
The immediate connection I felt with Morocco. The contrast of the rugged Atlas mountain ranges, dry hot Sahara desert and vast wild Atlantic ocean constantly kept me flowing with inspiration and I felt it needed to be captured in a soft and easy way. The people I met along the way also inspired me and made me appreciate the beauty of the culture - so different to the one I grew up in. It was a documentation of the places I went and the emotions I was feeling at the time. I felt so many extreme highs and lonely lows while there travelling alone and I think the vastness of the landscape reflects that.
Tell me more about the location they were taken in...
They were taken mainly along the south coast of Morocco. I was based in Taghazout which is a small fishing and surfing village, however I spent a lot of my time road tripping down the coast in search for waves and avoiding the tourist spots. I wasn't going in any particular direction or making any solid plans, and I think that's why I was able to capture the rawness of the country.
What's your favourite image and why?
'South of Si'. I will never forget standing on top of that cliff and feeling so insignificant and small. The roar of the ocean and the strong wind made it loud, however there was no one around except for me and a few friends so in a way it felt isolated and quiet. Standing on that cliff put a lot into perspective for me and made my desire to travel a lot stronger.
What's so special about Morocco? Did the trip change you at all?
When I was around 15 my dad gave me a couple of film photographs he had taken while he was travelling there in the early '80s. I knew from that moment it was a place that I had to visit. After I spent a few months backpacking through Europe I decided to head over to Morocco, despite many people saying it was too dangerous for a 20 year old female to go there alone.
As soon as I landed in Agadir I felt at home. Even though no one could speak English and there were not many women on the street, the air was warm and the simple colour palette of my surroundings made me smile. I can't pinpoint what was so special about the place, but a combination of the local people, food, culture, raw and changing landscapes, amazing surf, creative culture and the friendships I made along the way definitely made me grow up, and shaped me into the person I am now. I hold a very special place in my heart for Morocco.
Please email Amy Finlayson at firstname.lastname@example.org for any information including the press release and an exhibition catalogue. All works now online at thefincollection.com
Ravesi's Hotel is located at 118 Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach 2026.