Culture as a city identity. Morocco's “Asilah” hosts the 45th International Cultural Season | Culture

Started in a city for real The Moroccan News Agency announced the “Asilah International Cultural Season” event at its 45th summer session, which is organized by the Moroccan Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication in partnership with the Asilah Forum Foundation and the Asilah Municipal Community and will last until July 27 this month.

In a statement, the organizing committee explained that this year’s summer conference will be dedicated to fine arts, in addition to a group exhibition on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Asilah Forum Foundation, a symposium on engraving and print art, and a tribute exhibition to artists Malika Akznay from Morocco and Akemi Noguchi from Japan, entitled “Crossroads”, in the exhibition hall of the Hassan II International Forum Center.

The session will witness a group exhibition of contemporary creations in sculpture art, an exhibition by Moroccan plastic artist Abdelkader Al-Melihi, and the children's exhibition “Talents of the Season”, as these exhibitions will run from July 13 to the end of the year.

The “Asilah International Cultural Season” will also hold a seminar on “Art Market and Value Industry” from July 13 to 14, and a second seminar on “Contemporary Art and Crisis Discourse” from July 19 to 20. Three lectures on the history of engraving, printing and art will be organized.

The cultural season from July 13 to 27 will also include dyeing, engraving and lithographic works, with the participation of 25 visual artists from several Arab countries and foreign countries.

Asilah is a Moroccan city whose history dates back to Roman and Phoenician times and which has survived numerous colonization movements, and whose fame is linked to its summer cultural season that began in the late 1970s, making it a destination for intellectuals and decision-makers from different perspectives.

Culture is an authentic identity

This Moroccan city tells the story of a unique cultural project that was launched more than forty years ago and which, over the years, has become a global centre of intellectual and artistic light thanks to the initiatives it has initiated and the personalities it has hosted, as well as to the questions it has dedicated itself to raising.

The city's origins date back more than two thousand years to the construction of a Roman castle called “Zilis,” whose walls are covered in rainbow colors and frescoes run along it. Its famous coastal corridor overlooks the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and its gardens were opened in honor of the names of poets who passed through it.

A view of the old medina walls in the coastal town of Asilah, Morocco, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2017. Dec. 14, 2017. The town is known for its well-preserved walls, built by the Portuguese in the 15th century, which are now a center for street art and cultural activity. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
View of the ancient city walls of Asilah along the coast (Associated Press)

The experiment began with the garden of the Congolese poet Chikaya Utamsi, followed by the gardens of Tayeb Salih, Mahmoud Darwish, the Moroccan poet Ahmed Abdel Salam El Bakkali, and finally the garden named after the Moroccan thinker Mohamed Abed Al Jabri.

Asilah's residents are passionate about art and embrace all kinds of crafts, with young people on the streets making their livings in various arts, such as portrait painters, oyster decorators, henna carvers and Arabic calligraphy artists, all branches of which have become the characteristics of the city.

Despite differing opinions on the real upside of this project, it remains a groundbreaking initiative to transform an unknown geography into an international cultural capital, whose seasons have become experiences that provide inspiration as continental and Arab institutions look to transfer “authentic” experiences to other countries.

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