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Photo Album: Morocco, May 2017

Moroccan weaving has been much mimicked of late, so it seems a pertinent time to draw wider attention to several important collections. These were the mainstay of the first HALI Tour to Morocco, 5-14 May 2017. A group of twenty rug and textile dealers and enthusiasts from the UK, Australia and the USA were led by Wilfried Stanzer and accompanied by HALI Editor, Ben Evans and Assistant Editor, Rachel Meek. Further highlights appear in the photo album above.

Special temporary exhibitions and generous invites provided unique opportunities to see material, in Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes, Fes, Afourer and Marrakesh, not normally on public view. We are enormously grateful to those collectors, curators and dealers who generously shared their pieces with such passion and enthusiasm.

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We would particularly like to extend our thanks to several people who made the nine-day programme possible. In Marrakesh: Lucien Viola and Tamy Tazi for exhibiting their exemplary collections at Viola’s Gallerie Rê; Patrick Manac’h owner of the Douiria Museum Mouassine and Rabii Alouani Bibi—owner of L’Art De Goulimine and keeper of the Abdel Hay Collection for a wonderful exhibition and memorable presentation; Khalid El Gharib proprietor of the Khalid Art Gallery for organising a themed exhibition; Soufiane and Bazar du Sud who showed much Moroccan hospitality over a lunch and a dinner accompanied by many welcome buying opportunities; Patrick de Maillard, owner of the Boucherouite Museum; and staff at Riyad El Cadi for excellent service in our accommodation where the Herwig Bartels Collection resides.

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In Casablanca: Berdj Achdjian for co-ordinating, and Leila Benjelloun for personally presenting Rabat carpets from her collection. In Rabat: Khalid and Lamiaa El Kholti and family for a fascinating hands-on viewing of their extensive collection. In Fez: the Dar Batha Museum for opening the carpet gallery which is currently closed to the public and staff and musicians from the Mohammed Otmani ensemble, at our beautiful accommodation, Palais Amani.

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Rug designer and artist, Mustapha Hansali and his family who hosted the group at their home, where we viewed inventive new production, a collection gathered during years of fieldwork conducted in remote rural regions of Morocco before sampling home-cooked couscous overlooking the Afourer Reservoir. Finally to Austrian dealer and Moroccan weaving expert, Gebhart Blazek who followed the group by motorbike, adding further depth to the great knowledge of Wilfried Stanzer.

There are murmurs of new museums on the horizon in Morocco and, as noted in Travellers’ Tales HALI 191, ‘with so much material in private hands and new forces in the market, these are pivotal times for Moroccan textiles. It will be interesting to see what transpires as the interest in Berber culture blossoms.’

Another HALI Tour to Morocco is scheduled for 2019. To register your interest, email halitours@hali.com

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