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Essaouira, City of Art and Artists

It all started in the 50s, with Boujemaa Lakhdar, very strongly inspired by Moroccan Arts and Traditions. His authentic creativity and culture make him the pioneer of Souirie painting. With him, the notion of Art enters the customs.
Hippie yes, but from Upper Bohemia. Simple man of remarkable intelligence, his complex work is dotted with signs, letters and symbols, which he probes the mysteries and translates the most secret alchemy.
The Souirie painting, a form of expression from which emerges so much emotion, is described as a singular, authentic art, far removed from all academicism and Western influence.
That she is naive, abstract, figurative ... There floats something supernatural; Filled with African traditions and tribal scenes, the colors are sometimes violent.
Some painters of Essaouira are imbued with Gnaoua influence. Among them, Mohamed Tabal, emblematic leader of this singular style, and a great lady of the painting Regraguia Benhila, who passed away in November 2009, leaving to posterity works tormented, colorful.
Regardless of their secret brotherhood, their professions of the land or the sea, painters Souiris have in common to express their passions, their dreams, their fantasies, their delusions on a piece of canvas, wood or goatskin ... Fantastic, surreal, dreamlike animals come from nowhere, monsters with multiple heads, intertwined reptiles, swarm here and there. Based on an original idea by Alain Billy, former director of AFME, the Festival de l'Etrange gives the painters Souiris every year the opportunity to share their unusual style.