Mural a Result of Art Exchange between Chicago Sister Cities and Casablanca
On Thursday, October 10, the Casablanca Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI) unveiled a mural on the north-facing and west-facing walls of 1306 S. Michigan Ave, painted by artist DYNAM (Younis Amriss).
DYNAM’s mural unveiling is part of an art exchange launched with Casablanca in 2017 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Chicago’s partnership with Casablanca, Morocco, which became a sister city in 1982. In 2018, Chicago artist Sam Kirk created a mural in Casablanca as phase one of this exchange. DYNAM’s mural is phase two of the mural art exchange and part of an ongoing effort to strengthen the international relationship between the two cities.
The mural features a young man who represents a new generation of Moroccan youth straddling new trends and old traditions. His upper garments symbolize a connection to cultural tradition; while his lower western garments symbolize global, predominantly U.S. trends. For DYNAM, this is a way of expressing the distinct, but also shared elements that are brought together through partnerships such as our two sister cities’. It also draws attention to the important role that young people continue to play in transcending borders and differences that may have seemed impossible to older generations.
“This most recent mural unveiling in Chicago celebrates our strong cultural ties with Casablanca,” said Adrienne Tongate, Executive Director of Chicago Sister Cities International. “We are thrilled to have DYNAM’s work here in Chicago as a lasting reminder of our sister city partnership with Casablanca.”
The mural project is supported by Columbia College Chicago and the Wabash Arts Corridor. Many donors also contributed to the project including Chicago Free for All, the Diamond Family Foundation and the generous members of the Casablanca Committee of CSCI and friends.
DYNAM’s art is gaining reputability as he was one of the Moroccan artists invited to the Casablanca International Street Art Festival “Casamouja”. At this event DYNAM created a gigantic façade facing the Atlantic Ocean representing a mythical scene from the film Casablanca. Months later he attended the largest Street Art façade in Morocco in Tiznit, painting a work that he completed in less than six days. His latest work inaugurated the 4th annual International Jidar Festival in Rabat.
DYNAM’s unique style mixes realism and color palettes rarely seen in street art. He stages touching, sad and sweet images of Moroccan life by integrating the iconic Teddy Bear, a symbol allowing for multiple interpretations of his works that reflect the themes of time, childhood, solitude and the inner worlds specific to each of his characters.
In conjunction with the mural exchange project, Mr. Mohamed Jouahri, Executive Director of Casablanca Events and Animation (CEA), visited Chicago and met with various cultural institutions including DCASE and Choose Chicago. Mr. Jouahri was in town to discuss best practices in the area of tourism, including budgeting, strategy, and event coordination and promotion. As the economic capital of Morocco, a financial hub for Africa, and a tourist destination, CEA is responsible for ensuring Casablanca’s role in the international network of cities that are open, inclusive and innovative through participation and in hosting the Smart City Expo Casablanca, an international congress.