Thursday, 30 April 2015

The buzzing art scene of Marrakech

The art scene in Marrakech is definitely a happening one! Maybe it has much to do with the city’s cultural queen Vanessa Branson and her Marrakech Biennale that seems to be growing for each time. In 2016 we look forward to the 6th edition and its theme “Traces”. We also look forward to the opening of the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts in 2016 that will be the world's largest photography museum!
But in the meantime there are so many art museums and several art galleries worth visiting!
First off: Galerie Ré
Galerie Ré was founded by Lucien Viola in 2006 with the aim to work with contemporary Moroccan and international artists who create in sculpture, paint, photography and installation art.
Galerie Ré is in the centre of Guéliz, the new town, and is a very chic gallery. We went there to the opening of the exhibition "Bird Conversations" by Kati Lawrence a copule of weeks ago. We enjoyed the beautiful paintings as much as meeting both old and new friends over a nice free glass of chilled wine.

A few beautiful art objects at the sophisticated Galerie Ré. We especially liked the painting of a peacock.

Secondly: Voice gallery

The Voice gallery is located in the industrial quarter Sidi Ghanem, about 5-10 minutes with car from the medina. We went here in February when the moroccan photographer Rim Battal had a vernissage.

The Voice gallery shows both moroccan and international young artists. 

Thirdly: Galerie 127
Galerie 127 opened up in 2006 and exhibits beautiful photographs on its 4 meter high walls. 

Another cool gallery is Galerie 127, located on 127 Mohammed V Avenue in a big bright loft in an otherwise quite dull building in Guéliz. Recently they had an exhibition of photos of the king’s grandfather, Mohammed V, and it was rumored that the king himself bought several objects. We however went by there to see the exhibition "Une femme Francias en Orient" followed by an evening at Dar Bellarj in the heart of the medina where we saw the 54 minute long documentary "Voyage chez les Wodaabes" by Marie-Laure de Decker. 

Dar Bellarj

Dar Bellarj opened its doors in 1999 and is located next to the Ben Youssef Medersa (Quranic school). The name means "House of the storks" and is said to have been a hospital for storks.
Rachida, our excellent housekeeper, brought us to Dar Bellarj.
At the moment there is an exciting exhibition at Dar Bellarj called "Feminim Pluriel" that is a cooperation with the Marrakech film school and some anonymous local women.
This piece caught our attention!
Not far from Dar Bellarj is the "Maison de la Photographie" that was established in 2009. It is cituated in a traditional morocan foundouk and has several floors with fantastic photos from 1870 and onwards. It is quite hard to tell how old the photos are sometimes since most of the feel so modern. 
Maison de la Photographie
We have brought many of our friends to this excellent museum!

To explore new Moroccan artists the Musée de la Palmeraie is the place to go. It is some 10 minutes by car outside the city and is not easy to find but when you get there you are greeted not only by loads of paintings but also by an amazing lush garden. The museum has several buidlings and exhibits around 50 different artists. Besides paintings there are also quite a few interesting sculptures and some photographs.

Musée de la Palmeraie
A selection of the art found in this quite new museum.

The Musée de la Palmeraie is worth a visit just to see all the incredible cactus trees
You can actually find art everywhere in Marrakech, here are some artworks that we have caught on camera while walking down the alleys and derbs in the medina. Just keep your eyes and mind open and you will begin to see them everywhere.

Some examples of street art in Marrakech
Finally a quote from one of our favourite books: “If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.” - Yann Martel, Life of Pi.

And remember that life imitates art far more than art imitates life!
See you soon!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Morocco - from a dogs point of view

Hi, I'm Disco, you probably have seen in me in a lot of pictures by now so I thought it was about time for me to introduce myself properly. I am a nine year old dachshund (birthday april 8, YAY for me!). I was born at Kung Karls Kennel outside Eskilstuna in Sweden and am a pure pedegree from a long line of champions. I soon found my family with these two crazy guys. It's been a fun ride to train them to act the way I want them to and I think I have done a quite good job. I do get my way most of the time, either by being cunning or cute. 

Here I am in Marrakech, my new home town

I used to spend my days in Stockholm, enjoying long summer vaccations in the archipelago, go to my "grand parents" Agneta & Lennart whenever my masters went away and occasionally travel with my masters to Italy or France and stay in very nice and pet friendly five star hotels. It was indeed a very nice life with good food, normal routines, long walks and nice people to guard and look after. I like to guard and it is my sole purpose in life to keep my flock together, it's easier said then done with these two guys.

We have a new great house with lots of rooms, terraces and a pool, where I am not allowed to swim - HA, I'll be the judge of that!

Then something happend, we re-located to Morocco! The best country in the world! A lot of smells I never felt before, a lot of interesting garbage and a lot of great food. We live in a HUGE house with a lot of rooms and floors where I can go on discovery tours and hide if I want to. What I love about our new house is that there is only one entrance door to guard - so convenient! And the roof terrace is just perfect for lazying about and keeping an eye on things.

Here they are, my two pets. Pretty much like moving rocks, but quicker then you would expect.

There is a very nice person named Rachida who is in charge of the kitchen, I think she may actually be god, or at least the queen. She has full access to eveything a dog could dream about and the kitchen here is pure heaven. Yes she is definatley god. Or the queen of Morocco. Rachida is great fun and often drops delicious food for me on the floor. She also takes me for walks and make sure I have plenty to eat and drink. Another thing I love about Morocco are all the low tray tables where I easily can enjoy snacks when the people look the other way and the low lounge sofas that are so easy to jump up in.

Me and my friend, the puppy Joe. He is OK to play with for some 20 minutes but he can be quite intense and I am after all middleaged now.

I can't believe all the fuzz i made back in Sweden over one cat or one bird in the garden in our summerhouse or when the mailman came! Here people are coming and going all the time and there are cats everywhere. Even though I try to keep up my guardian profession I just sometimes let it all go. 

I like the architecture here, and the colours totally match me!

And the cats! Don't get me started about the cats here! The alleys and roof terraces are full of them! I actually try to play it cool and they seem to avoid me. In our terrace I of course keep them away, they stick to the high walls. After all, cats are just like really ugly dogs with a great balance. I have pets of my own here, two turtles. They are pretty much like moving rocks and we like each other. They eat sallad so we don't compete for food or attention.

Here I am with Per up in snowy Oukemaiden, almost like back in Sweden

Our neighbours are nice, they all know me by name and greet me very polite when we pass. I like the grown ups. They are friendly and mean well. The kids can be a bit anoying since they all want to padd me and make strange noices, the noices they make are supposed to be dog barks but it's just plain stupid. Dogs don't bark like that. So I just ignore them completley, no style what so ever. Overall Moroccans are not very used to dogs, but some of them are starting to get dogs as a fashion accesoary after seeing wealthy expats with dogs. I hope I can start a trend for dachshunds.

On the road again, god knows where to this time?!

My masters keep taking me on trips, I like that since we get to stay together and I normally get a lot of long walks in new environments. 

Lounging in a hotel after a day of travlling

Just arrived to Fes. Fes was a nice city but not as cool as Marrakech, a bit too provincial for my taste.

They took me to this nice lake for a walk

This constant posing for photos.... You can tell that I'm bored


I like the smell of history and green grass

A blue city - cool!

My masters have excellent taste in hotels, I always get a nice place to sleep and lots of extra goodies when we travel.

Chefchaouen, not so many cats...

On a scenic walk

This is our driver Mohammed, I let him think he knows what he's doing but he hasn't got a clue how to walk a dog.

In Rabat, checking out the King's horses

In Rabat we stayed in a nice riad, I kept escaping our suite all the time, great fun!

Here I am at an Italian restaurant. I like Italian food and Italians love me! I agree with Madonna, Italians do it better, food that is.

Chasing waves at the Atlantic coast

So what else is new with me? Well, I miss my grandparents Agneta&Lennart as well as Annelie. Annelie is great, she is super nice person and very very kind. She is like a dog that is human! So smart and beautiful! If I were a human and not castrated I would marry Annelie! 

Here is Annelie visiting me in in Marrakech, look how she provides shade for me - that's what friends are for!

I enjoy the sun, the  smells and the sounds of this crazy city and I think it's been theraputic for me to develop my behavior towards cats, I believe I have matured.

Wait, did I hear some one calling out for dinner? Or was it a call to prayer again? Who cares, I better run down to the kitchen just to make sure. I like it here, I hope we stay for a long long time.

Me and my Masters in our new home, we like it here. I trained these guys well I think. 
- Did anyone say food?

Well, now you know my side of the story. Voff! 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Insiders Shopping Tips: Souk Cherifia & Topolina

Hi there, 
this is an extra blog post to tell you about a very nice "one stop shop" for modern Moroccan design with a twist as well as local brand and shop Topolina.

Souk Cherifia is a small galleria or mall, located in the heart of the medina right under well known Terrasse des Epices. In the ground floor you find traditional pottery, baskets and souvenirers but if you step up the stairs you find around 20 small shops with modern Moroccan design. We also found a very interesting designer brand just around the corner from our house, the brand is called Topolina.

Some 20 small design stores are located on the second floor of Souk Cherifia

This is a great place to go to get a feeling of what new designers are up to. There are several traditional items with a a modern twist. Some of the brands and designers are also represented in the 33 Majorelle shop by the Majorelle Garden outside the medina. The prices are fixed and you find both interior design, food, jewlery and fashion for men as well as for women. The second floor with small design shops is a new addition to the medina and well worth a visit.

Souk Cherifia

The design floor upstairs

Beautiful and unique pillows and other African chic interior design items at Sissi Morocco

A modern take on pottery, hand made by the artist who runs this shop

Local designers

Beautiful high quality fashion basics

A typical shop of a local designer

Chabi Chic, not a great name but nice products

We got this pottery from Chabi Chic for our bathroom - modern Moroccan cheramics. Great for storage in the bathroom, or for coffee.

Marrakshi Life - now that is a good name for a brand! 
High quality Moroccan fashion, the designer used to work for Jean Paul Gaultier

We really like the label "Marrakshi Life", high quality fashion produced in Marrakech by the designer himself

You can even have the pieces custom made if you want to put your own mark on the design. We will pick up the striped sweater in a slightly different cut in a few days.

Jewels - new shop in Dar Charifia

Jewels is well known jewlery sold all over the world. These beautiful pieces are very ethnic and tribal chic, as well as quite pricy.

Here we are at the store opening of Jewels in Marrakech with our dear friend Maryam (in red/white dress) and the designer Jules herself (next to Patrick) - a great evening!

Topolina in Dar Bacha

Colourful summer shorts at Topolina

Shoes, handmade in Marrakech by Topolina

Graphic patterns and fun fashion at Topolina

Per is matching his shorts with the drapes

The designer of the men's collection, Pierre-Henri

For more shopping tips, check out previous blog posts. There are a lot of cool stuff to find both in the souks and in the new town. Rue Majorelle 33 and KIS are two other favorites of ours.

So get your ass over here and do some serious shopping!