I’m looking forward to how this month unfolds. I’m fortunate to have a number of activities on the go, including participating in the next stage of the Peace Project’s US touring exhibition which is helping to raise awareness and needed funds for worthwhile initiatives in Sierra Leone. I’ve been fortunate to spend part of this month in Africa, experiencing a touch of artistic creativity and observing some of the wonderful architecture that exists in Marrakesh. In visiting this city, I’m reminded of how many cultures have influenced its present makeup besides the French and Arabs. History should be kinder in remembering the Amazigh and other African/non Arabic peoples who have resided over this great land.
The city’s architecture remains fascinating. The mudbrick walls seen on many of its buildings absorb heat to keep them cool in summer whilst warm in winter. This illustrates how environmentally friendly and sustainable some ancient structures can be. The typography is changing with new developments but the signs of poverty and homelessness remain visible throughout the city.The art scene has been growing over the last few years and this has been illustrated with the launch of Morroco’s biennale and international art fair. I was hoping to visit the Marrakesh Art fair as advertised in some of the art and tourist press but unfortunately someone somewhere got these dates completely wrong. The event takes place next year! Nevertheless I was happy to see the private art collection of Elizabeth Bauchet Bouhlal, co owner of the Es Saadi Palace hotel. When the owners of the hotel decided to enlarge the gardens and resort with the palace they realised the fantastic opportunity to celebrate Moroccan art and ask a number of artist to create special works for the rooms and public areas. The collection also includes work from artists who were pioneers and opened the door for contemporary ones.
The collection features work Elizabeth describes as ‘oneiric’ with the painting being based on dreams, on the reconstruction of a spontaneous and free imagination overloaded with images. Departing from what some have described as. ‘ mockingly naive painting’ oneiric art does not appear to have changed or transformed into a new genre. It was a pleasure to see the work of Mohamed Tabal along art by emerging north African artists.