Unveiling Our Moroccan Mission
Artistic expression has the remarkable ability to capture the essence of a place and its people, transcending boundaries and forging connections that resonate deeply despite distances. In the breathtaking coastal landscapes of Atlantic Morocco, a unique artistic mission is taking shape, from the hot winds of the desert to the gentle sea breeze, Larache (العرائش) a village located 90 kilometres south from Tangier (طنجة), serves as a constant source of inspiration.
In Larache, perched atop a cliff overlooking the majestic Atlantic Ocean, a vibrant community thrives, its streets are alive with the beating heart of Moroccan culture, pulsating with the rhythm of daily life. I can honestly tell you that the people there possess a unique spirit, a passion that permeates every aspect of their existence. As you wander through the bustling markets and the vibrant Medina, you can feel the deep connection that the residents have with their community and its cultural heritage.
One of the most striking elements of the village cultural fabric is the unwavering passion for acrobatics. The town is renowned for its acrobatic traditions, passed down through generations, where agility, grace, and daring intertwine. Every twist, leap, and somersault reflects a deep-rooted love for performance, an art form that transcends language and captivates all who witness it.
The people of Larache have honed their acrobatic skills over centuries, creating a spectacle that leaves spectators in awe. The acrobats, with their extraordinary physical prowess, bring stories to life through gravity-defying feats and nimble movements. Their performances not only entertain but also embody the spirit of determination, discipline, and resilience that is deeply ingrained in the village identity.
Beyond the art of acrobatics, this place is a haven for underground artistic expression in all its forms. The town is a sanctuary for musicians, dancers, painters, and poets, who find inspiration in its mesmerising vibes. The energy that flows through the streets and visitors are often drawn into impromptu performances, play in jams, and spontaneous displays of artistic brilliance.
In the old Spanish cemetery, I found a Tomb, Jean Genet the French poet was lying dead there.
“My heart's in my hand, and my hand is pierced, and my hand's in the bag, and the bag is shut, and my heart is caught.”
― Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers
In the ever-unpredictable realm of international cooperation, a chance encounter through Migracode, a EU Commission project for promoting Coding Schools for Refugees, brought us face-to-face with the dynamic duo of Abde and Seb from Future Train, an NGO operating in both Sweden and Morocco. Through this random encounter, we became fast Amigos with them, now we walk the walk and we talk the talk together.
Abde and Seb, with their infectious enthusiasm and deep love for Morocco, urged us to venture to Larache, Their ceaseless conversations about this village ignited an insatiable curiosity, driving the whole team to embark on an unforgettable expedition. This visit fueled a collective vision between all of us to create something extraordinary, something that would transcend boundaries and vanish distances.
Through the commitment of collaboration we have sent numerous individuals from our community, each armed with their unique talents and perspectives, the impact of these artistic journeys has been profound, creating ripples of change that have touched the lives of both visitors and locals.
Julia Casal is a freelancer experienced filmmaker that documented the way of living of Larache during a European project with Rural Hackers and Future Train. The documentary serves as a valuable piece of visual storytelling, offering viewers the opportunity of meddling in the life of the Medina. Her love for filmmaking and dedication to showcasing the beauty and authenticity of Larache is completely evident throughout the entire project.
A picture is worth a thousand words: Click here to watch the documentary Click her!
Tom Glindering mural, a visual piece born from his abstract painting style, has added a new layer of vibrancy and introspection to the streets of old town of Larache. This mural is located in the entrance of Zeljou, a multidisciplinary centre of Future Train NGO where they provide workshops, education, free comfortable spaces and a restaurant of delicious Moroccan cuisine. The painting is an abstract map of the ville that showcases various recognizable details, such as the Medina, making it easily understood by people without artistic experience. His artwork invites viewers to reflect about the place where they live and embark on a journey of self-reflection, evoking profound thoughts and inspiring conversations about change.
Elisabeth Hilerud, with her expertise in Zentangle, has engaged the local community in transformative workshops. Sharing her techniques, she guided participants in the creation of intricate designs. The impact of these activities extends beyond creation, as participants embrace the meditative nature of this art, they find solace, inner peace, and stress relief through deliberate strokes and patterns, enhancing their mental well-being.
Maritzza and Cuco embarked on their artistic journey in Larache with a clear mission in mind, by engaging with the people of the city, they asked for input on what animal to represent, and the resounding response led them to paint a donkey (hmar). This choice reflects the traditional role of donkeys in bringing food to the city, and it resonated as the most honest and authentic representation. Their collaboration extended to working with the master artist Nabil, an experience they found incredible and inspiring. They have not only created a lasting artistic legacy but also fostered a deeper sense of connection and understanding, honouring the gigantic donkey role in the Moroccan Culture.
Through various European projects and initiatives, the people that we have sent to Larache have had the opportunity to engage in transformative experiences, record documentaries, and participate in diverse activities. These interactions have fostered personal growth, cultural exchange, and mutual understanding.
The artistic collaborations have empowered the community of Larache, giving voice to their traditions, aspirations, and dreams. The murals have become points of pride, symbolising the resilience, creativity, and cultural richness of the community. They have instilled a renewed sense of hope and possibility, inspiring the next generation to embrace their heritage and pursue their artistic passions.