Get lost! in Marrakesh
To get lost in a foreign city is a fear that many of us have, but putting away the map can be just the thing for adventure. The souks of Marrakech are – we promise – a great place to get lost in.
So, what to expect?
Well, cast adrift in the maze of the medina, carts will trundle past you, laden with oranges and timber. You’ll see hawkers selling piles of eggs, fruit of all colours and fresh herbs. You’ll spot ancient weavers working at looms. The smell of delicious freshly baked ‘khoubz’ (bread) will waft over you.
You’ll pass brightly coloured apothecaries, where inside, hundreds of glass jars containing everything from pickled birds and crystals to ras el hanout and saffron will be for sale. You’ll be invited in for tea. You’ll have offers of guidance and you’ll certainly pass plenty of shady cafes to cool off in with a Casablanca beer or some mint tea.
See, doesn’t sound too bad does it? Chances are, after getting lost in the souks, you will return with a dozen travel tales, a handful of souvenirs and a camera full of photos.
This recent article on the Huffington Post website, inspired us to write this blog post, they agree that getting lost isn’t so bad!
Photography in the souks of Marrakech
Marrakech brings out the photographer in most of us. The light, the colours, the costumes and the winding souks all present incredible opportunities for travel photography. Even if you’re not normally one for taking holiday snaps, you will almost certainly regret not bringing a camera along with you to Marrakech.
There are plenty of tips online about how to take good photos, but these ones specifically address travel photography.
Take a look and learn some new tips:
Wanderlust magazine: http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/misc/take-better-travel-photos
Or, if you’d rather watch a pro in action in the souks, check out this video called ‘Mystical Marrakech Street Photography’ by the multi-talented Zack Arias: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpYfhqfWcu8&app=desktop
Lastly, we recently unearthed this wonderful compilation of Marrakech street photography – ample inspiration for you to dust of your camera! http://www.projectbly.com/destinations/marrakech/souks
Morocco is awash with artistic talent. At home – and abroad – there are hundreds of excellent Moroccan artists working in various fields. One such artist that we’ve been keeping an eye on for some time now is the French Moroccan artist Yasmina Alaoui who works with her Chilean photographer partner Marco Guerra. Together, they combine their artistic talents to craft haunting and mesmerising works of art.
Born in 1977, Alaoui spent her childhood in France and Morocco, eventually studying at the Ecole Du Louvre in Paris. Guerra, was born in Chile in 1965, is a fashion photographer, whose work has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Conde Nast Traveller, as well as famous fashion brands such as Levi’s and Ralph Lauren. Their work is like nothing we’ve ever seen, although we can certainly see the Moroccan influences and colours.
Their work can be viewed here (warning contains some nudity!): http://www.operagallery.com/media/132.pdf
While the world’s media focuses on the opening of the new Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts (MMPVA) other, equally as exciting, developments continue apace in the city.
Quietly but confidently the Fondation Alliances have been working hard to bring an enormous outdoor exhibition, the first of its kind in Africa, to Morocco.
Newly opened, the Al Maaden Sculpture Park is located at the well-known Al Maaden Golf Resort. The space has been created by both Moroccan and international artists, with collectors Alami and Farida Lazraq spearheading the project.
Initially, 25 Moroccan and international artists were invited to propose sculptures, with 12 striking sculpture works picked after the selection process.
These works, by French, Moroccan, Algerian, Chinese and Egyptian artists, are currently on view. The sculptures have been carefully chosen by a committee on account of their artistic merits and their fit with the locale. Antonio Segui’s giant 8-metre high sculpture Golfista Anecdotique (Anecdotal Golfer) fits with its setting perfectly, as does Yazid Oulab’s Montagne (Mountain).
Sometimes an afternoon calls for a cultural outing. While in Marrakech there is ample to see just from wandering the lanes, the cool of an art gallery offers space for quiet reflection. A visit to the serene Black on White gallery is a great choice.
A sleek and modern space, the gallery promotes contemporary art in Morocco via various mediums – from painting, drawing, sculpture and photography to installation, performance and video art. The gallery represents twenty artists and highlights their work through regular exhibitions.
The current show ‘Childhood: Art’ is on display until January 20th. Artists include Florence Arnold, Azrhai Aziz Rashid Bakkar, Benjkan Salah Ahmed Ismael Ben Hicham Benohoud, Bigot Martine, Mahi Binebine, My Youssef El Kahfai, Abdelhaq Elyoussi Alain Gerez Ahmed Hajoubi, Tibari Kantour, Christophe Miralles, Mourabiti Mohamed Hassan Nadim Beatriz Nirtán, Jihan Rihani and Nawal Sekkat.
All of these artists have agreed to relive their childhood through this exhibition, using this quite by Baudelaire as their inspiration: “the toy is the first initiation of the child to the art.” Take a visit to see the results.
located in the new town of Gueliz, 48 rue Yougoslavie, 1st floor, Imm. Adam Plaza
Palais Namaskar, one of Marrakech’s more opulent five-star hotels, is not the first place you might think of when considering modern art, however this month sees the hotel host a fascinating exhibition to mark the centenary of a journey to North Africa made by Paul Klee, August Macke and Louis Moilliet.
The adventure that these three seminal artists undertook to North Africa (primarily to Tunis) not only shaped their own work but also Modernism in the west on the whole. It is well documented that for many Europeans, North Africa was a source of inspiration. Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir visited Algeria, and Henri Matisse of course lived in Morocco for some time (1912-1913), where he painted some of his famous ‘orientalist’ style works.
It was during Klee’s journey to Tunis that he explored abstract and Modernist ideas and returned with the motto: “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.”
Partnering with the Written Art Foundation, a German cultural institution, the exhibition Symbiosis of Two Worlds brings together 40 important American, European and Arabic artists which highlight the ongoing connections between European and North African artists. Among them are Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, Georg Baselitz, Shafic Abboud, Mehdi Qotbi, Rachid Koraichi, Nja Mahdaoui and El Houssaine Mimouni. The exhibition runs from November 9 to December 8.
Read more here: http://www.palaisnamaskar.com/eng/hot-news/
An artist’s retreat with a difference, Al Maqam is located in the village of Tahanaout in the lower reaches of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. Al Maqam means ‘The Place’ in Arabic and it serves not only as an artist’s colony but also as gallery, library and a place to stay. There is nothing else quite like it in Morocco.
The painter Mohamed Mourabiti has been setting up Al Maqam for over a decade and now, carefully installing traditional home-wares and local paintings and now photographers, writers and artists flock to the centre to share ideas and inspiration. It is a supportive environment, and for those who struggle to pay the €50 for nightly accommodation, they have the option to pay with paintings or poems instead.
This unique, quiet place hosts workshops and also has paint materials for sale and a conference room – everything in fact that the artist needs. On average 100 international artists are hosted a year, and there are regular guests like the painter Abderrahim Yamou (www.yamou.com) and the French writer Michel Butor.
You can find out more here: http://almaqam.eklablog.fr/
Former style editor, Alessandra Lippini of Italian Vogue and her partner, Fabrizio Bizzarri, have to be one of the most stylish couples in Marrakech. It’s true that there are quite a few concept shops now in the city, but this fabulously fashionable pair kick-started the trend several years ago and their emporium-cum-gallery, Ministero Del Gusto, is an inspirational and good looking space.
Racks of carefully chosen vintage couture clothes stand alongside designer wooden furniture, bas reliefs and trinkets that have been sourced from all around the world. The space is also a hive of creativity and a few times a year the couple put on an art exhibition or a musical gathering, a taster of their art and design school which they have created along with Italian architect Sergio Calatroni located out in Tahanaoute (20km or so away). Make an appointment if you can, but impromptu visits are also welcomed.