Graffiti as Art and Resistance


The town of Asilah, Morocco is famous for its yearly cultural festival that takes place each year between June and August. Artists of all kinds descend on the tiny town, bringing tourists along with them, and growing the population from about 12,000 to a whopping 110,000. One of the by-products of the festival is the murals that get painted by select artists all over the freshly whitewashed walls of the medina. These murals become a tourist attraction year-round, and because they change each year, it’s always worth going back to see. Asilah is a beautiful place, but street art is not limited to this tiny hamlet. Throughout Morocco, there are amazing artists creating all sorts of work on city walls. As a friend of mine recently remarked, in many poorer or working-class neighborhoods, house doors, windows, or walls will be painted with reds, yellows, purples, blues. These colored walls can be a way of decorating places that have been traditionally overlooked, a way of taking care of a community space, brightening up a neighborhood. Graffiti can of course, also make political statements. Traveling in the High Atlas mountains and valleys last spring, we came across a huge spray-painted sign on a rock outcropping reading ‘God, Country’ which deliberately left out the third word in this traditional motto enshrined in the national anthem – ‘King.’ The blog According to Hind has a list of some of her top five examples of street art in Morocco. More can be found on the facebook group StreetArt & Graffiti in Morocco, and there’s an interesting new article on Jadaliyya about post-revolution street art in Egypt.

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