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Discovering Art in Morocco

Friendship, affection, curiosity, expansion and a desire to move, led me to return to Morocco, a country I visited years ago, and left a longing to go back and deepen the connection.

Thanks to the warm hospitality of @monicafernandezarco I was able to return and enjoy days of “real, everyday life” in the Kasbah of Marrakech. I also connected with @blackstardesert and travelled to Essaouira for a magical stay. My gratitude is immense!

The chatter, the sounds, the smells, the aromas, the colours, the variety and galore of images, that hit and pervade the senses in a city like Marrakech is second to none.

Life and creativity is what springs to mind! Good old fashion creativity, artisan creations, deeply rooted and passed on from generation to generation… all made and offered with passion and enchantment…

In the hassle and bustle of the souk, the market vibrates with myriads of voices and colours, brightness and shade, small alleys and shops filled to the brim with artisan craftsmanship…

It is a riot! Yet, in all this liveliness, I stumbled across a quiet art studio where time seemed to flow in a different way… An art studio steeped in brush strokes, which link past to present in the journey of life dedicated to depicting the flow of one’s experiences from youth to maturity, from the spring season of life to the autumn one, to arrive at the age of wisdom where Maestro Najib Yousseffi is at.

Youssef sits there in silence, holding his hands over circles and lines of spilled paint. He sits with deep eyes, both accustomed and trained to looking into the depth of reality.

Youssouf embodies a serene presence dressed in dark colours - deep purple and black - contrasting the brilliancy of the bright, loud, rich shades of yellow, red, green, indigo that characterise his paintings.

The colourful art pieces envelope and stimulate my vision, my photographic memory of what I have just seen and experienced walking through Marrakech. My imagination expands, as each and one of the paintings tells a Moroccan story, merging the country art and traditions with the artist’s personal history.

Moroccan art is a tapestry of stunning beauty, rich culture, and deep spirituality. This ancient art form has a mystical quality that inspires awe and wonder, evoking a sense of reverence for the divine. From the intricate geometric patterns of Moroccan ceramics to the vivid colours of textiles, Moroccan art form speaks to the soul and touches the heart. A particular piece by Youssuf catches my eye and touches my heart… Henna Hands.

This painting refers to a long standing tradition, which sees Moroccan henna hands painting, as a timeless art with intricate designs that will steal your heart. The artist's hand moves with precision and grace, as the henna's rich pigment adorns a sacred space. It is a canvas of skin, The intricate patterns tell a tale of old, of love and life and secrets untold.

The intricate designs of Moroccan art are infused with a deep sense of meaning and symbolism. Each pattern and colour tells a story, conveying a message that transcends the physical realm and touches on the spiritual. The art is a manifestation of the Moroccan people's deep connection to their land, their history, and their traditions, and it is a celebration of the beauty and richness of life itself.

Youssuf’s art is particularly striking, with its flowing lines and bold curves that seem to dance across the page. Youssuf gentle character, so softly spoken contrasts with the boldness of his art pieces, as if all the contained passion within him, explosively expresses itself through painting.

Moroccan art form incorporates a variety of media, including ceramics, textiles, woodwork, calligraphy, and metalwork, and has been influenced by the diverse peoples who have inhabited the country over the centuries.

One of the most prominent forms of Moroccan art is ceramics. Moroccan ceramics are known for their intricate geometric designs and bright colours. The city of Fez is particularly famous for its ceramics, which are made using a technique called zellige. This involves cutting small pieces of clay into intricate shapes and then glazing them in bright colours before fitting them together like a puzzle to create a larger pattern. The result is a stunning mosaic-like effect that is truly unique to Morocco.

Morocco has a long tradition of weaving, and the textiles produced in Morocco are renowned for their brightly coloured geometric patterns. Made using natural materials such as cotton, silk, and wool, Moroccan textiles also incorporate traditional symbolisms to the brightly coloured geometric designs.

Moroccan woodwork is another important art form. The country's rich forests provide an abundance of raw materials, and Moroccan woodworkers have developed a variety of techniques for carving and embellishing wood. Moroccan woodwork often features intricate geometric patterns and calligraphy, and is used to decorate everything from doors and windows to furniture and musical instruments.

Finally, Moroccan metalwork shines as a celebrated art form. Moroccan metalworkers create pieces of jewellery, as well as functional objects such as lamps and candle holders - all made with extreme precision honouring their intricate creativity infused with the Divine. Moroccan metalwork is known for its detailed patterns and designs, and often makes use of precious stones and mixes other materials other than metal.

The result of the patient and skilful work of the metalworkers is a work of art representing the spirit of the artisan who has individually created a particular piece with devoted dedication.

Whether one admires the intricate geometric patterns of Moroccan ceramics or the rich symbolism of Moroccan textiles, there is no denying the beauty and sophistication of this unique art form.

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