In the increasingly dim light of a rainy day I had the rich priviledge of watching five young creatives sit at a table in an unlit side room of a ‘dar shabab’ (youth house) in Tetouan. I savored this opportunity to just be there for this historic event. It was the charter meeting of a new youth art club (soon to be a new association) called l’Uniart …” The new universe of art.” A new generation of creatives who are motivated to take a leadership role in promoting the arts in Morocco.
For about an hour, an intense discussion buzzed in lightning fast Arabic around a four page defining document under the pen of the group’s financial officer. When all the edits were made and the three officers’ names had been spelled right, everyone sat back for a minute in silence and smiled. Three copies of national cards, official mini-photos and a pile of dirhams were carefully stacked on the document and quickly ferried to the head of the dar shabab to register this new club. Everyone munched one more palmera cookie and we all headed out to Cafe La Tourouge to celebrate.
I am excited to see what this group will do with this self-assigned role in their country. On a day when an international film festival admitting upper eschelon VIPs only is concluding on the other side of town, the beginnings of a very cool movement may be afoot here. They are envisioning sponsorship of film festivals of their own as well as film projects (the secretary, a graphic artist, aspires to be a film director), art exhibitions, painting courses for local youth (the president is a talented painter who also plays guitar for several bands), concerts and open mic nights and unique theater offerings all within the spacious dar shabab that has become their headquarters. When I ask about their plans to pull off the logistics and administrative work, all hands gesture to the financial officer, now working on her masters in business systems management.
This is real grass roots stuff, folks. No money … all heart. Stay tuned for the unfolding story. I am.
you can follow l’Uniart on Facebook too.