Friday, November 23, 2012

Unique Cultural and Artistic Event in Morocco

The Festival site at Sidi Ali

Jess Stephens, Artist and Culture Coordinator of Culture Vultures in Fez, has announced an exciting cultural opportunity - an Islamic pilgrimage interwoven with ancient Moroccan folkloric ceremonies. These are the ingredients of the Moroccan Moussem (festival) of Sidi Ali Ben Hamdouch, the founder of the Hamadcha Sufi Brotherhood. The event takes place in the tiny village of Sidi Ali in the hills beyond Meknes.

Inside the mausoleum at the festival

The Moussem will be the focus of an extraordinary artists' residency project organized by Culture Vultures. Musical offerings, slaughter, trance and possession are all part of the happenings at the week long event that starts on the birthday of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, next year - January of 2013.

Pilgrims going into trance

Jess Stephens, visual artist and culture coordinator, has designed the programme around the Moussem, for artists to draw inspiration and feed their work. Jess says that the artists involved in the Artists in Residency project will need to be orientated to approach the Moussem sensitively with the understanding that personal ceremonial experiences of the pilgrims should always take priority when researching and feeding their artistic practice.

A local woman entering trance

Both day and nighttime visits to the festival will be coordinated by Culture Vultures with festival acquaintances dotted around the town as refuge points. The base camp for the project will be guest house Dar Zerhoune, in the neighbouring town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoune where academics, musicians, local herbalists and alternative doctors will be invited to the table to share their experiences, knowledge and understanding of the Moussem of Sidi Ali Ben Hamdouch.

Huge crowds gather to watch the ceremonial procession to the mausoleum

In July of 2013, the works inspired by this project will be presented at venues in Fez in collaboration with the French Institute. The definition of artists who can apply is broad. Writers, dancers, musicians, magicians, performers, visual artists are invited to apply. The deadline for submission is December the 10th 2012

Read more about the Moussem here

For the full project program, prices and more information see:
(00 212)06 45 22 32 03
Moulay Idriss Zerhoune

photos; Sandy McCutcheon


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