Farouk El Maarouf

Street Art, Festivity, and the Politics of Possession in the Moroccan Urban Space

MECAM Papers English | 2022

  • Recently, festivals have come to acquire unprecedented importance in Morocco. Today, one can enjoy an entire year full of the country’s different festivities, among them Mawazine, the Gnaoua Festival, the Almond Blossom Festival, the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, and the Imilchil Marriage Festival.

    • Structurally, Moroccan festivals have undergone a crucial change during the last 20 years. They are no longer discrete and isolated cultural events. They have shifted from being typically local and rural celebrations (moussems) to events global in nature. Ideologically, they are rationally produced and professionally managed. Socially, they are arbitrated through a volatile, unsteady, and yet innovative context of sociopolitical conflict.

    • While analysing the Jidar Street Art Festival more specifically, the article discusses the politics of possession regarding the city walls in Morocco’s capital, as taking place through small-scale, personal endeavours or with large-scale visibility under state patronage.

    • As such, the Jidar Street Art Festival has a great impact on the cultural and local understanding of the urban city. The murals become the urban image, functioning along the lines of city gentrification, and a representation of the world which systematically ignores the truth on the ground lying beyond the colourful walls higher up.

    Context Looking at contemporary festivals in Morocco points to the lurking hierarchies, hegemonies, and modes of suppression which can help to unravel the urban conflicts and resulting resistance based on the execution of cultural practices shaped by powerful actors like the state.

    English version: Street art, festivity, and the politics of possession in the Moroccan urban space

    French version: Street art, festivités et la politique de possession dans l‘espace urbain marocain

    Arab version: فن الشارع والاحتفالية وسياسة الحيازة في الفضاء الحضري المغربي


    MECAM Papers English

    MECAM Papers French

    MECAM Papers Arab

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    Merian Center for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb



    Farouk El Maarouf

    Farouk El Maarouf

    Justus Liebig University


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