The Art scene in Marrakech is thriving and vibrant. This has been a city of alternative arts and culture for at least a hundred years -the great French orientalists such as Henri Jean Pontoy made this a seductive place to create as early as 1880. Jacques Majorelle brought art through landscape in his seminal garden in the 1920’s, and it is today the most visited attraction in the city. Majorelle Blue is now a recognised colour the world over, resembling the cobalt used by the nomadic saharan tribes to dye their clothes.
Artists have flocked here ever since – fashion designers like Yves Saint Laurent lived here. Winston Churchill, the artist, also lived here in the Mamounia Hotel during his retirement. Photographers adore the light. We who abide here just love the vibe, the urgency and the raw nature of a North African city thriving in the sun.
Marrakech today is a hub of creativity. The light inspires, the music resonates, the energy flows. Contributing to this is the Marrakech Biennale – a creative and avant-garde art festival held every two years in Marrakech. It’s a chaotic and disorganised event spanning over three months, a la Marrakech, held together by the quality of the art on show.
From swanky cocktails in luxury hotels to gritty wall-painting workshops in derelict riads, it is a throbbing and growing scene. I have wandered around the Medina seeking out the shows and have sometimes found them! The funky Sri Lankan/British creative jeweller Kali Arulpragasam had a great show at the Selmane Palace which I was lucky enough to get to, thanks to the dynamic and lovely Kerstin Brand.
My personal favourite this year is the British artist Gordon Davidson. He has just eight works exposed at the lovely Riad Adore in Dar El Bacha. His best works, mixed media on aluminium, show the relationship between the infinitely small and the immeasurably vast – from the synapses to galaxy strings. Stunning.
Whatever your taste in art, from classical to post-modern, you will find a kindred soul in this vibrant and artistic city.
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