Over the last 12 years I have taken time to visit and research Moroccan culture and throughout 2012 built up artist networks and opportunities to hopefully assist me in my aim to invest more in a country in flux between traditional art past and a contemporary future. The proof of this noted transition is the extended time frame of Marrakech Biennale (MB) in seeking to become synonymous with artistic excellence, evolving a greater responsibility in ecology and civic awareness. I recently noted a predominance of videos and performance, which I employ within my own practice.

Thanks to the an:travel bursary my current extended visit allows me access to a variety of artists work from Africa, the Arab world and its Diasporas.

During my last visit I met many creative Moroccans and hired singer and celebrity Toufik Elbouchiti to feature in my concept for a video. Toufik is blind and has contacts within blind organisations, specifically a Blind video programme at the International Film festival held annually in Marrakech. The video concept is based on his journey walking through a busy souk wearing traditional Sahara clothing from his home town of Tan Tan.

He was holding a triangular mirror I had made at a local framers and wore a GoPro head Camera. Toufik was thrilled with the idea as he felt he was contributing to visual imagery by moving his head and body.

I wish to work more with Toufik, contacting his numerous networks to screen my video.


Though hiring and working with Toufik Elbouchiti a Moroccan singer, song writer and performer I discovered he had a desire to meet His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco at his Palace in Rabat.

Apparently the King invites blind persons to the Palace each year which was the prompt I needed to pen a letter. My friend and fellow artist Denis Whiteside who is based with me at Neo:artists studios kindly offered to write it for me as he has an excellent writing style..fit for a KING.

Once again I would like to thank Marouane Bahrar and GML studios, Hatim Gueddari, Rachid El Alaoui and Er Rafik Aboubaker and of course the amazing Toufik without whose help and guidance the film would be incomplete.

The video A NEW VISION – When the Mind Hears can now be viewed on https://vimeo.com/189683541


The original concept was to take place in the Marrakech Souk located at Jemaa el-Fnaa Medina Square, based on the tourist as ‘an outsider’, dealing and negotiating a journey amongst the highly charged intensely busy environment. The idea based on perceived vulnerably, peoples interactions and the gaze in negotiating ones way through the hassle and bartering.

In my own experience I have heard and spoken to tourists about the aggressive selling that takes place and even though they enjoyed the weather and food etc the ‘selling’ was in their opinion ‘too much’.
Personally I am outgoing and confident, however when I first encountered the souk to look at the goods on sale and engage with sellers my defences were on the ‘up’, feeling slightly vulnerable, anxious and hesitant with eye contact and was aware that through avoidance of my gaze I was missing out of what was visible.

Rabat is not tourist driven as Marrakech being an administrative city, it is more relaxed and less busy, with hardly any hassle, therefore the original video idea needed to be altered.

I was introduced to and subsequently hired Toufik Elbouchiti through an artist contact Hatim Gueddari.
Hatim an artist was the interpreter for my project knowing Toufik since Theatre School and after discussions I came to the conclusion that Toufik would be the protagonist in the video instead of myself.

Toufik has contacts with blind organisations and I wish to work with him in contacting his numerous networks to screen the final video that will be made specifically with a Blind audience in mind.
I am aware that there may be an opportunity to screen with a blind video programme at the International film festival.

I met with Toufik to propose my ideas for the video and record his unseeing travel through Rabat’s souk wearing a Go-pro camera on his forehead whilst holding a pointer – a golden triangular mirror.
Having been inspired by the song ‘Amazing Grace’ and it’s lyrics I decided this would be a starting point that could incorporate Toufik’s memory, music and vocals. Toufik was thrilled with the idea feeling he was contributing to visual imagery by moving his head and body.

The lines ‘I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see’ and ’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home’ was the starting point.

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!
Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

Toufik completed the video lyrically and musically responding to my request of using ‘AMAZING GRACE’ as his inspiration.

Thank you to everyone who helped me complete my project.




Twelve months ago I was very pleased to have been invited to Rabat by film maker Marouane Bahrar after meeting up with him whilst I was on holiday in Marrakech. Marouane is a friend of the artist Said Afifi who I was showing with in a touring video exhibition called ‘Time is Love’ (7) 2013. TIME is love screening is an annual international video art program on the theme of love in hard times. We became Facebook friends and I knew he lived in Casablanca approximately 3 hours by car from Marrakech, but chanced my arm in contacting him to meet up. Luckily both he and Marouane were having a few days break in Marrakech. From this original contact Marouane and I talked about the future as his English is very good.

Rabat is very different to Marrakech its easy to walk about on foot and hassle free. I mentioned before that it is like Manchester in the sun and with a beach. I first visited Rabat in November last year to specifically meet artists, network and check out the art scene there. I have made friends and numerous contacts to help me and advise me for future development and collaborations. For the travel bursary my aim was to complete a Video I had previously recorded adding sound because my target audience would be the partially blind/blind audience. The trip this time was to collect sound and work on audio ideas. I had plenty of inspiration in Rabat visiting numerous sites to record sound. After meeting with Toufik Elbouchiti to discuss sound (because he is a musician and song writer) I anticipated that he would respond to the song ‘Amazing Grace’ in his own way using the song as a catalyst and as inspiration. After a few weeks we met again and he told me he had written the music and lyrics and that the song was distributed by a director , a lobby a system controller for the role of being blind and your luck, like a flower in rubbish. Your choice has been taken away from you, but then the flower grows and pushes through and the blind start fighting for their cause and rights.

GML PICTURES a Film, Photography and Sound Studio in Rabat

Toufik does not speak English and so I had a translator to help interpret. We booked into the studio and spent the day recording different layers of sound. First Toufik sang Acapella, then with classical guitar followed by an electric guitar. We were working until late in the evening and for the final layer of sound recording we invited the people who were at the studio to sing. It was exciting and fun watching the process of recording.

The next day I was back in the studio editing the sound with Marouane who is exceptionally skilled in using an application called Adobe Premier CC2015 Pro.

The final film will be available on Vimeo in the future (Inshallah) as I don’t want to release it just yet as I will be submitting it to the ‘International Film Festival’ where the blind apparently have a venue allocated to them each year. I was clear in communication to Toufik that I did not want the video to be a music video and for Toufik to respond to the world famous song ‘Amazing grace’ in his own manner – in a none Christian way – in order to connect with the audience.

I am very pleased with the final outcome of the film and the sound. The rhythm is very catchy and who knows where this work will lead myself and the other people involved?

Hatim Gueddari, an Exhausting day and night Interpreting.

For the time I spent in Rabat I would like to thank Marouane Bahrar and GML studios, Hatim Gueddari, Rachid El Alaoui and Er Rafik Aboubaker and of course the amazing Toufik Elbouchiti  without whose help and guidance the film would be incomplete.


The ‘Mausoleum of Mohammed V’ is a historical building located on the opposite side of the Hassan Tower on the Yacoub al-Mansouresplanade in Rabat. It contains the tombs of the Moroccan king and his two sons, late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah. The building is considered a masterpiece of modern Alaouite dynasty architecture, with its white silhouette, topped by a typical green tiled roof, green being the colour of Islam. A reader of the Koran is often present, having his assigned seat. Its construction was completed in 1971. Hassan II was buried there following his death in 1999.

Hassan Tower is the minaret of an incomplete mosque in and began in 1195, the tower was intended to be the largest minaret in the world along with the mosque, also intended to be the world’s largest. In 1199, Sultan Yacub al-Mansour died and construction on the mosque stopped. The tower reached 44 m (140 ft), about half of its intended 86 m (260 ft) height. The rest of the mosque was also left incomplete, with only the beginnings of several walls and 200 columns being constructed. The tower is made of red sandstone, along with the remains of the mosque and the modern Mausoleum of Mohammed V, forms an important historical and tourist complex in Rabat.

Instead of stairs, the tower is ascended by ramps. The minaret’s ramps would have allowed the muezzin to ride a horse to the top of the tower to issue the call to prayer.


The Mohammed VI Museum Of Modern and Contemporary Art is in the centre of Rabat not far from the train station and near Terminus Hotel Showcasing a sun terrace and views of the city. It is a large sold building having a brightness and lightness with colourful artwork images running along its sides.

Downstairs is a huge space containing new and Contemporary works, including work by Mohamed Arejdal an artist I met and made friends with at the Marrakech Biennale 6 in February this year.