Spectators gathered around the British diplomat to hear what he would say while he was wearing a magician’s suit and told about the love of the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill (1874-1965), for the city of Marrakech.
The British ambassador took the initiative to narrate the details of historical events between Morocco and Britain, highlighting the mutual love between the two peoples and the British’s love for Marrakech, a city famous for its humour, art of tales and folklore that has been passed down through generations over more than a thousand years.
The British ambassador’s participation in the “Djemaa El-Fna” activities generated positive reactions among the present audience and on social media, as commentators praised the ambassador’s humility and the “wit of shadows” that the British diplomat exhibits.
While the tourism sector workers are waiting to regain their activity after the opening of the air borders on February 7 last, observers and a number of actors in the sector in the city saw in this initiative, an important gesture that would give impetus to a sector suffering from depression due to the successive months of closure, while professionals are trying to save their trade Two years after the crisis associated with COVID-19.
Marrakech inspiring Churchill
The Moroccan city of Marrakech inspired a number of paintings by the former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who, in addition to his political roles, was a painter with a love of colour and an experienced writer.
According to historians, Churchill considered art a way to get rid of the depression that accompanied him in his life. In this regard, William Rees-Mogg, an American journalist for The Times, wrote in an article published in 2007: “Churchill’s private life was suffering from depression. But if we look at his paintings and his quiet life, we find no sign of depression.”
He often painted during his holidays in southern France, Egypt, or Morocco. Among the most prominent of these paintings, which saw the light in Marrakech, is a painting depicting the hermitage of the historic Koutoubia Mosque in the Red City. Churchill had painted this painting in 1943 while he was in Marrakech, during a visit to Morocco to participate in the Anfa Conference, which was held by the Allies in Casablanca, in the midst of World War II.
And this painting, the most famous work painted by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was sold in March 2021 in London for seven million pounds at an auction held by “Christie’s”. Thus, the price of the painting far exceeded expectations, as it was estimated at between 1.7 and 2.8 million euros, a painting that was owned by international actress Angelina Jolie before it was sold in London.
It should be noted that the visit of British Ambassador Simon Martin to Jemaa El-Fna Square came in the context of the launch of the activities of the first edition of the Marrakech International Festival for the Art of Storytelling, which is organized by the Union of Storytellers for Cultural Creativity and the Art of Storytelling, from February 12-20, in partnership with the London Embassy. in Rabat.
This multilingual cultural event constitutes an opportunity for cultural exchange and experience sharing among the storytellers, introducing the participants to Moroccan culture, in addition to promoting the Red City as a tourist destination for this art, opening the way for women in the art of storytelling, eliminating stereotypes between cultures, spreading the values of tolerance and peace, and promoting tourism. Cultural in Marrakech.
The organizers also hold great hope in the new generation of storytellers to breathe new life into this art genre in order to ensure its sustainability.