A new Moroccan mural is added to Chicago’s “world tapestry”.

A new mural painting depicting a young Moroccan man dressed in a mix of traditional Moroccan and contemporary Chicago clothing now decorates Columbia’s dance building, linking two twin cities and mixing cultures, Moroccan and Chicago.

“The inspiration comes from the new generation,” said Moroccan artist Youness Amris, who is known in French as DYNAM. “Morocco is my first inspiration;[mural painting] is a mix of modern cultures.”

The mural is the newest addition to the Wabash Arts Corridor and is located on the back wall of the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave.

This project is the result of a collaboration between the Wabash Arts Corridor, Casa Events and Animation, based in Morocco, and Chicago Sister Cities International, which has had a twinning relationship with Casablanca since 1982. the dance center mural project began in 2017 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Chicago-Casablanca twinning relationship, a program that promotes intercultural education.

Lisa Roberts, co-chair of the Casablanca committee of the CSCI, said Amriss’ mural painting is in addition to Chicago’s “global tapestry”.

The exchange of mural paintings began two years ago, when Chicago artist Sam Kirk traveled to Casablanca in April 2018,” said Neysa Page-Lieberman, Chief Curator of the Wabash Arts Corridor and Executive Director of the Department of Exhibition and Performance Spaces at Columbia.

“It’s a bit like giving a taste of another country through a language that most people can understand today,” said Mr. Page-Lieberman. “When you bring a Moroccan artist here and his work is here, it’s an entry into the appreciation of other cultures.”

Explaining the symbolism behind the objects in the mural, Amriss said that the building behind the young man depicted is the Wilaya of Casablanca, a well-known building in Mohammed V Square in Casablanca.

The young man is dressed in an outfit that represents traditional Moroccan clothing on the top and traditional American clothing on the bottom. Mr. Roberts said that the subject’s clothing encourages new trends while preserving old traditions.

“It’s a way to normalize all types of people who coexist,” she said. “Some people whom we see regularly and others who are invisible to us.”

The mural was officially unveiled on October 10 after two weeks of work in the rain and freezing weather. After this project, Amriss will return to Mons, Belgium, to complete his master’s degree at ARTS2, a university of visual arts. “It was a great experience,” said Amriss.

“These are two cities that are uniting and working together on projects that can help advance this idea of global partnership through the use of interpersonal diplomacy,” Roberts said.


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