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Tangier Cultural Exchange weekend brings together artists across the Strait of Gibraltar

The Tangier Cultural Exchange weekend saw a group of some 20 from Gibraltar who travelled to the Moroccan city where art and music came together across the Strait.

This was organised by the Gibraltar Cultural Services on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and the JM Memorial Foundation.

The main programme was hosted at the Donabo Botanic Gardens with the Minister for Culture, Prof John Cortes, presenting a sculpture donated by artist Mark Montovio to the gardens, in recognition of the links between both communities.

This was received by Charifa Lalla Malika El Alaoui from the Moroccan Royal Family, who runs the facility.

“The sculpture is part of a series of three looking at the idea of justice and judgement,” a spokesman for the GCS said.

“Made from recycled materials it reinforces the idea that there must be a process of renewal and the totemic representation references the self, society, and the system.”

A music video “Secretos Del Estrecho”, a song by musician Adrian Pisarello, in collaboration with Liam Byrne and Ismail Mnebhi, which celebrates the cultural diversity and beauty of both communities was also launched and was enthusiastically received.

“The video was shot in Gibraltar and Tangier with popular landmarks featured and three languages, English, Spanish and Moroccan Arabic represented,” the GCS spokesman said.

“Since its launch, in a 24-hour period, the video has received over 10,000 views on YouTube which can be viewed here:”

As part of the event, participants enjoyed a tour of the gardens, a beautiful and educational facility which has been created over the last six years.

It was a hands-on weekend with the group cooking their own tagine lunch using produce from the gardens, learning about the typical techniques when cooking this popular dish.

Back-to-back workshops were then delivered in the afternoon.

Local artist, Ermelinda Duarte, offered a tile crafting workshop, using nature as the inspiration and organic materials from the gardens to make imprints.

The group was then challenged to a writing workshop delivered by teacher and Book Council member, Melissa Bossano.

The interactive session was fun with those involved really committing to the exercise and exploring their creative abilities through the written word.

From pen to paper with illustrator, Eleanor Dobbs, from the Rock Retreat running an illustration workshop that was engaging, challenging many of the artists present to explore new ways of expression.

The artist also delivered a sketching to create animation workshop to a group of students from the Tangier Attawassol Association for deaf and hearing-impaired children supporting in the aim to create an inclusive environment to foster their creative expression and their personal growth. The students really embraced the experience and thoroughly enjoyed the offering.

The weekend also saw a visit to Gallery Kent where Manager, Aziza Laraki, presented work from artists represented by the gallery and spoke about the art scene in Tangier.

This was followed by a presentation from GCS Head of Cultural Development, Davina Barbara, with a snapshot of ‘Tangier from the Rock’s artistic lens’, to set the scene and provide creative inspiration for the group.

The Minister for Culture said: “It was an incredible weekend of cultural exchange in which the need to keep connecting the communities on both sides of the Strait was clearly evident.”

“I was encouraged to see the energy and vigour of all those involved in achieving this and the thirst there is to learn more about each other.”

“The journey continues”.

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