Nadimé: approche du derviche-tourneur en dix lithographies
Toufik Berramdane; text by Frédéric Brandon
Paris: Arte Estampe, 1992
Nadimé is comprised of a set of ten small black-and-white lithographs printed on Velin d’Arches 300 gsm, wrapped in unstitched folded covers. The lithographs depict Sufi whirling dervishes, very impressionistic, almost calligraphic, but with clearly discernible swirling robes and tall fezzes.
Growing up in France, Toufik Berramdane knew of the whirling dervishes only from a documentary film, but they resonated as a mysterious part of his heritage. Why, he wondered, were whirling dervishes forbidden by Sunni Muslims? This trance-like dance “was part of me . . . It transcends belief and religion; it breaks frontiers of time and space.”
Two short poems in the book by the French artist Frédéric Brandon offer imaginative interpretation. One, titled “Le Derviche,” reads in translation:
Sentience, ecstasy, body’s gold;
Spirit freed in discipline’s hold
Bound for glory,
The dervish whirls on
Sailing above deserts,
hearing far below murmurs of chaos, necessary to know.
Go ahead Toufik: Whirl!
Paris, 5 May 1992. Brandon 
In the other poem, titled “Toufik,” Brandon is encouraging the young artist in his own whirling world:
Succeed joyfully, but not without resolve.
No time is more precious than time clearing contradictions
Between fullness and flatness, color to valor,
Following the line drawn from the heart.
Be quick, though, exhibition deadlines, deliverables, research, production . . .
The train leaves early morning . . . along with Nadimé.
Nadimé means the “medina,” or the old part of the Arab city, in the French code language known as verlan, which reverses syllables:
Na.di.me = Me.di.na. Nadime = Medina.
About the Artist
Toufik Berramdane, born 1967, is a transnational artist: Algerian mother, Moroccan father, raised in Algeria and Paris, lives in France and Morocco. He is largely self-taught and began his career in France as a fashion and textile designer. Early on he met French artist Frédéric Brandon, who encouraged and mentored him. Berramdane made two artist’s books in the early 1990s, then moved on to painting, for which he is now better known. He also does sculpture and photography, but artist’s books let him explore a subject more deeply than a single canvas or photograph allows. He is working on an artist’s book combining photography and stories of Moroccans entitled Maroc 365°.
Toufik Berramdane: 100 permis. Rabat: Alterdeco Editions, 2010.
Toufik Berramdane. toufikberramdane.com
 Toufik Berramdane, e-mail message, September 18, 2013.
 Translations from the French by Francine Farr.
 See his Toufik Berramdane: 100 permis (2010)