Like most towns in Morocco, Asilah has a walled medina. But in Asilah, the walls are painted with colorful, elaborate murals. For the last thirty two years, the Asilah Arts Festival has rehabilitated and promoted the city of Asilah by fostering artists from around the world.
Asilah is a resort town on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, only fifty kilometers from Tangier. For the first two weeks in August, the town explodes with culture while it hosts the Arts Festival. Artists use the festival as a way to exhibit their work for the public and exchange ideas with other creative individuals. Every year a group of painters collaborate and design a wall mural at the Medina. Visitors are invited to watch the work as it progresses.
Beyond paintings, the Asilah Arts Festival works to encourage cultural dialogue, exchange ideas and promote peace. Guests and speakers include politicians, journalists and writers who exchange ideas and inspire one another to create a global cultural landscape.
The musical art world is also on display through musicians and dancers. Hands-on workshops are set-up and artists can draw attention to international problems they face in their regions while working with other artists to find sustainable solutions. In the past, the festival has focused on renewable energy and the creation of zero-carbon cities.
Each year a different guest country represents its culture and art. The selected country represents its artists and region by showcasing art, screening films and sharing heritage, crafts and publishing programs. The Asilah Arts Festival is one of the most important art festivals in Morocco, and reaches many corners of the globe.
Written by Megan Wood.
Photo by aworkpl.