Murals in Morocco

Mirleft © C215
Mirleft © C215

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Graffiti artists can relate: graffiti is often short-lived. Within the Moroccan borders, aerosol paint does not stick to the bricks for a long time either. That is why al.arte turns into FatCap this time around. Just for once, with loads of images and little words. Street art in Morocco: an overview.

The halls of culture hub Les Abattoirs de Casablanca were bathing in the aroma of fresh paint after Atelier Kosmopolis landed there in 2012. For four days in a row, young artists juggled with stencils, spray techniques and tags. One year later, the Remp’Arts street festival was organised from 17 to 19 May in Azemmour. Graffitists from all over the globe came to show off their talent:

Apart from these initiatives Morocco attracts artists from abroad too. Swiss graffitist Jinks Kunst for instance, who mostly works with stickers. He undertook a graffiti tour through several Moroccan cities from September 2012 to April 2013:

C215, occasionally dubbed ‘the French answer to Banksy’, paid some attention to the most vulnerable people of society in his Moroccan stencils. As usual – beggars, refugees, street children, the elderly, the homeless… often play the leading role in his work:

However, the Moroccan street art scene not only depends of foreigners. One can recognise the pieces of Morran ben Lahcen, from Marrakesh-Tensift, by these ever returning crosses:

Loyal al.arte fans definitely remember this piece of street art (L’7anana) by Majid Elbahar & D’Et in Beni Mellal:

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Quite paradoxically, the initiative for graffiti is sometimes taken by the government. On the 5th of June, 2013, International Environment Day, the Al-Dusheira Council organised a graffiti competition together with a number of civil society organisations. The citizens of this Southern Moroccan city could assist with painting murals highlighting regional culture, art and history. Most attention was paid to the youth, who were encouraged to help to paint murals about civil responsibility towards their community, the environment and local culture. The slogans on the walls were sprayed in both Arabic and Tamazight, as a call for mutual respect and coexistence between the speakers of these languages. With taglines like “God, the Nation, the King” (from the Moroccan national anthem), it is obvious that this event was a government initiative. Irony, much? Forget about any “down with the government”-slogans; it is doubtful that the original goal of graffiti was respected with this competition. Or was the council just one step ahead of government opposing graffiti artists?

Finally, this would not be a true overview of graffiti without a number of works of which we could not track down the artist. Enjoy these last street art nuggets:

All our thanks go out to the admin of StreetArt & Graffiti in Morocco, who allowed us to use plenty of pictures shown in this piece.

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