Moroccan Artists and The Medina of Essaouira

Mostafa Assadeddine

The Medina of Essaouira seems to swallow people up when they’re exploring the twists and turns of its colorful sidestreets, alleyways, and squares. The walled old town has walkable ramparts with ocean views and “imposing 18th- and 19th-century gates (aka babs in Arabic), including Bab Marrakech, Bab Sba, Bab Doukkala, and Bab El Marsa“.

Place Moulay Hassan – My Essaouira

Main squares include Moulay Hassan, named after Sultan of Morocco,  Hassan ben Mohammed, and arcaded Marché aux Grains (Grain Market). The walkways are lined with “al fresco cafés, indie art galleries, eateries, shops selling rugs, spices, and ceramics, hammams, and inexpensive riad hotels – interesting traditional houses built around inner courtyard gardens”. I’m sure to visit one of the hammams for a revitalizing soak.

Riad Hotel Essaouira – Kayak
Mohammed Bouafia
Bab Sbâa Gate Essaouira – Visit Essaouira

The Medina mesmerizes me! I’m still learning how to get around and constantly getting lost. There’s so much to see and experience! I’ve met a few artists and merchants and found them to be friendly and open. It’s a vast change from Croatia, so it will take a few days to acclimate – not there yet.

Door Medina of Essaouira

Today, I stumbled on a small art gallery featuring the works of two Moroccan artists – Mostafa Assadeddine and Mohammed Bouafia. I’ve attached photos of their work and brief info about them. The art wasn’t captioned.

Mohammed Bouafia

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“Essaouira is an exceptional example of a late-18th-century fortified town, built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context.” UNESCO

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Artist Mostafa Assadeddine – Passion d’art
Artist Mostafa Assadeddine

Mostafa Assadeddine’s primitive African art is special. He was born in Casablanca but lives and works in Essaouira. He’s had several collective exhibitions in Morocco and France. He’s won prizes at Essaouira’s Festival de l’Etrange.

Moroccan Hammam – Morocco News
Artist Mostafa Assadeddine – Auction.fr

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“The trance, the rites, and the ceremonies of the Gnawa brotherhoods – descendants of African slaves – are strongly represented in the work of Assadeddine. The characters are rarely solitary, most often in completely identical couples, astonishing duality, body and soul.” lesgrigrisdesophie.blogspot  

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Mostafa Assadeddine
Mohammed Bouafia

Assadeddine “works with patience, covering the surface of his paintings with an infinity of points reminiscent of the pointillism used in certain primitive cultures, such as the aborigines”. His art is “related to the works of artists from the black diaspora transported across the Atlantic to the Caribbean Islands and Haiti, where voodoo and macumba painters are, like him, inspired by African traditions and the supernatural”.

Mohammed Bouafia
Artist Mohammed Bouafia

Mohammed Bouafia’s beautiful paintings capture “scenes linked to the seaside city of Essaouira – aka City of the Trade Winds”. He was born in the small town of El Kelâa Sraghna in central Morocco, but has lived and worked in Essaouira since 1999.

Mostafa Assadeddine

Bouafia has participated in exhibitions in Morocco and abroad. His beautiful work illustrates an understandable fascination with Essaouira’s colors, shapes, and variety of human elements”.  Bouafia’s technique is “knife painting, with which he mainly represents landscapes reminding him of his childhood in Marrakech”.

Ancient Medina Mohammed Bouafia – Made in City
Mostafa Assadeddine

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“Bouafia’s pictorial work is of undeniable visual beauty. It oscillates between shadow and light, relying on the complementarity of colours, lines, and lively touches treated with a spatula.” vosartistes.com 

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Mohammed Bouafia

Each day, I’m learning more about Essaouira and the people who live here – a fascinating place to unravel!

Mohammed Bouafia

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