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Morocco - 2015
On the north-west corner of the African continent sits the Kingdom of Morocco. It is a country that is partly European, partly Berber and Arab, partly African, modern yet ancestral with a fascinating contrast of divergent cultures, climates and geography.
Although a stones-throw from southern Spain, it is wholly Islamic and deeply traditional. Moroccans trace their past deep into Arab ancestry or back to the ancient Berber tribes. In the latter part of the 1880s and early 1900s France and Spain carved up Morocco in large zones of influence. Although the colonization has ended, the legacy of occupation of Morocco is still apparent.
With its independence in 1956 the country came under the governance of a constitutional monarchy. Its current king, Mohammed VI, like his father, is said to be the direct descendent of the Prophet Mohammed. And although there is an elected legislature, Mohammed VI retains executive power over Morocco’s government and people.
I went to Morocco in the spring of 2015 with Intrepid Travel who specializes in guiding small ten-person groups. Our itinerary covered a wide geographical range and cultural interests that took us to the coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlas, Rif Mountains and the Sahara Desert.
Our travels included: the picturesque town of Chefchaouen, with its intensely blue washed walls; Marrakesh, with its huge market square and exquisite Majorelle Garden; Fez and its medieval tannery and traditional mosaic and ceramic artisans; the ancient desert town of Ait Benhaddou, the locale for shooting numerous films including Gladiator; the frontier town of M’ Hamid on the edge of the Sahara and the jumping off point for caravans, camels and desert camps; the bustling fishing port of Essaouira with its multitude of blue painted wooden boats; Volubilis’s extensive hill-top Roman ruins; the isolated village of Imlil, deep in the High Atlas Mountains; the sea-side promenade of Tangier; and the old medina and souks of Casablanca.
Allen Smutylo 2016
Allen Smutylo was born in 1946 in Toronto, Ontario. He was one of the founding members of
Circle Arts Gallery, which opened in Tobermory in 1969. In 1970, he graduated with honours from the
Ontario Collage of Art and Design.
Smutylo's work is included in numerous public, corporate and private collections in Canada and
abroad including the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, Brantford; the Tom Thompson Art Gallery,
Owen Sound and the University of Saskatchewan. Smutylo has won numerous awards including the
prestigious Sapporo International Print Biennial in Japan.
For the last 30 years his work has been based exclusively on experiences from his extensive travels.
These trips include over 25 kayaking and backpacking working expeditions in the high Arctic, the
Amazon jungle, the Himalayas, Varanasi; India and Antarctica. Most recently, Smutylo's travels have
taken him to Ghana and Morocco, Africa.
Allen Smutylo lives and works in Big Bay, Ontario