First Published: 2017-07-24

Asilah Moussem, an exuberant platform for artistic events
Northern Morocco’s most dynamic and popular cultural festival had a rich schedule of cultural and artistic activities.
Middle East Online

By Saad Guerraoui – LONDON

Colourful walls

Northern Morocco’s most dynamic and popular cultural festival took place in Asilah with a rich schedule of cultural and artistic activities. The 39th International Cultural Moussem of Asilah transformed the quiet “city of arts” into an exuberant stage for poetry, music and artistic events.

Asilah experienced an artistic revolution in 1978 thanks to former Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa and Mohamed Melehi, an artist and curator. They were behind the idea of asking local artists to paint on the old town’s worn walls. Asilah has since become one of the North African region’s cultural hubs and Morocco’s most visited arts festivals.

A mural painting workshop this year brought together 17 Moroccan and foreign painters eager to leave their mark in the old medina. Tradition dictates that the murals made during the workshop are exhibited for a year.

Eleven Moroccan and foreign artists took part in an exhibition at the gallery of the Centre Inter­national Hassan II in Asilah. The exhibition “Rabiîyat” (“Springs”) showcased their art focusing on different themes, such as landscape and environment.

Spanish artist Marta De Pablos chose recycled materials for her piece to raise awareness of environmental protection.

Approximately 200 budding painters, aged 5-15 years, participated in the “Children of the Moussem” workshop at the Palace of Culture to practise their painting skills and express their ideas freely. The best works are to be exhibited at the Palace of Culture’s gallery throughout the year.

Driss El Maloumi, named the “lute virtuoso,” delivered a brilliant performance that took the audience back to the tales of “One Thousand and One Nights.”

The female choir Hadra Chefchaounia led by Rhoum El Bakkali at the opening of the 2017 Asilah Forum Foundation (AFF) performed beautiful popular songs depicting poetic texts of ancient Sufi heritage. This traditional and authentic music is passed on to generations of women of the northern region of Chefchaouen.

The AFF, on the sidelines of the International Cultural Moussem, sponsored colloquiums on political, social and religious topics.

The AFF has become a leading regional platform to tackle international issues and build bridges between different civilisations through debate.

 

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