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Art flourishes on the walls of Morocco

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Mosa'ab Elshamy/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Morocco

Street art is booming in Morocco.

The 6th edition of the Jidar street art festival finished in Rabat last Sunday and the results are everywhere to be seen.

A new generation of Moroccan street artists have taken to the streets of the capital and other cities to spread their artistic visions in large scale over buildings and walls.

For 25 year old muralist Omar Lhamzi street art sits somewhere between a sport and total freedom.

"Street art is total freedom. Imagine if a person passes in front of a wall where there is a mural of the hands of God, or any other taboo subject, I believe that there would be a reaction", he says.

Street art first appeared in Morocco in Casablanca around the turn of the century.

The first street art festival took place in 2013.

The initiative seduced local residents, but also institutions and the private sector that sought to duplicate the experience in Rabat, Marrakech, Agadir and in remote areas of the kingdom.

Mohamed Khayat is a journalist and press officer at D'art louane.

"Creating a work of art on a wall is not only a way to help enhance a space but also to give it a colourful, warm, friendly tone, allowing the eyes and the mind to soak up a new reality, which is that urban culture is gaining influence and consistency in Morocco", claims Khayat.

Every year, the Moroccan scene grows and the festival contributes to this by inviting beginners to give their first brushstrokes on a "collective wall".

The artistic director of the festival believes that colour can have a positive effect in any neighbourhood.

"Adding colour to an aggressive space calms the spirits. It's really quite simple; it's a very basic concept. You bring colour into a neighborhood that is struggling, people appreciate the work, children grow up with colours, with a more colourful vision" claims Salah Malouli, artistic director of Jidar and Sbagha Bagha Festival.

From humble beginnings in Casablanca two decades ago, street art has come a long way in Morocco.

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