Rabat. Royal Patronage for urban art

Journal of a gadabout (6) by Dr. A. Remesar

DSC08204I recommend a visit to Rabat. Ahead of they conclude the works of what we call “the third Rabat”.

The first is the victorious Ribat (Ribat al-Fath), as stated in the monolith of entry into the old limits. It includes the medina and the city center designed by Prost following the recommendations of Forestier, both two under the orders of Marshal Lyautey.

A center expanded in several districts of French flavour: Ocean – site of the corniche suffering remodelling and pressure of the projects Kasr al Bahr and Sephira; Les Orangers, Aviation, Belvedaire… and the most bourgeois of all Agdal Hay Riad.


The second Rabat, is the union of the banks that separates the Bouregreg River by fusing, Rabat and Salé, including the medina, in a paraphrase of the old corsair “republic of both shores”.


The third Rabat, Amwaj Bouregreg Development, is being established on the edge, in an area of 100 hectares and an estimated cost 3 billion dollars, which grow Marinas in the style of the 90s, shopping malls, Zaha Hadid great opera theater, the vast new library of Morocco and where is expected to build 15,000 new dwellings.

Zaha Hadid Theater

The tram connects the three Rabats.


If you ask me if there is public art, in the sense that Westerners are accustomed to understand this term, I will say no.

Exceptions: 4 sculptures that flank the Mohamed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


the two guardian sculptures to the entrance to the headquarters of the National Foundation of Museums…

Signed: Ouzzani 2013

… and the two interventions (breathe an ephemeral air) on the esplanade of the National Library .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Plaques and monoliths, only a few. At the entrance to a mosque; in the square November 16, recalling the exile of Mohamed V. Some more or less monumental fountain certainly no fountain in Rabat pours water.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


It would seem that the only monument is located in the gardens Nouzhat Hassan, a stylish and discreet monolith that prays in several languages “May Peace Prevail on Earth”.

Very few monumental street furniture. Heritage of the Sommevoire foundries (see) including the coat of arms  of Paris.


However, for two years the King of Morocco sponsors JIDAR an urban art event called “street fabrics ” Rabat is filled with graffiti, which shows that the problem of party walls, as you can see in the pictures, is an almost universal problem. In addition, street artists have entered the museum Mohamed VI.



Jidar 2015

Street artist from everywhere. An international show



Jidar 2016

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jidar work with highschools





Some graffiti alien to the event, survives in the narrow streets of the medina of Salé….



… in the indefinite walls near   to a huge shanties neighborhood also in Salé


…in some facade of the downtown


….and in some fences work in Agdal .


If Rabat is a model,the Public Art of the first third of the century, is no longer the “New Genre Public Art” which claimed Suzan Lacy, nor the Bourriaud’s “relational art” , not even any form of “activist and socially engaged art” . Artists, those of the Art circuit, have been spellbound with the “encounters”.
“Artists” of the periphery are conquering the center. The street is theirs. From persecution to master the urban decorum
Even entering into the Museums

2016. Duncan Gago. Façade of Mohamed VI Museum

…. but  this is another matter




Published by