After working for over 10 years on safe sex campaigns with my NGO: Designers against AIDS, I decided to take an inspiration trip to Essaouira in the spring of 2012 – with the aim of thinking about the next stage of my life and career. I decided I also wanted to spend more time focusing on real beauty and art with the creative platform ‘Beauty without Irony’, that I founded in 2001. Just a 10 minute drive from the medina, in a tiny village on a hill called Diabat, there’s an oasis that brings forth images of southern Italy during the 70’s. With its white and turquoise colour scheme, rustic straw parasols, views of the forest and the Atlantic Ocean – coupled with carefree cats and dogs strolling around – I found my piece of heaven in Auberge Tangaro. Here lies a mini paradise, stumbled upon in wonderful rooms, decorated with vintage Berber cushions, blankets, carpets and wonderful photos of Spanish artist Alexis de Vilar on the walls.
Tangaro has a deep history that dates back to the 1920’s, and was used as a hippie commune in the 60’s and 70’s. You can still feel some of the creative vibes here, so it’s no surprise that this is where our project Air/Port was born, first shown in Essaouira this year (2013), the project will become a biennale for modern art in the years to come.
If you expect power showers, a TV in the room, air-conditioning and an animation team – you probably need to go elsewhere. But if you want a place to call your home away from home, a place to relax while watching trees close by move in the wind, after a healthy meal or massage – then Tangaro is the place to be. Good to know: There’s free wifi everywhere- because let’s be honest, we need to be able to tell our friends back home about our new secret piece of paradise!
Shopping in Essaouira
If you like beautiful, original and handmade pieces, look no further: Essaouira is the place to be! With its small UNESCO World Heritage medina, friendly people and enormous choice, you’ll love strolling around, gorging your eyes on all the amazing colours and choosing the best pieces to take home with you. Whether you love handmade carpets, embroidered scarves, Inlaid thuya wood boxes, argan oil, Moroccan spices or vintage silver Jewish jewellery, you’ll find what you want here -and then some! Don’t forget to haggle over the price – it’s a part of the buying process, so you need to take out some time for it. When you’re done with your shopping, enjoy walking around town, visit the harbour, have lunch or dinner at one of the many excellent fish restaurants or mingle with locals and visit an art gallery to discover the wonderful Souiri art –often made by self-taught artists who you may see moonlighting as a fisherman. If restaurants and art are not up your street, why not sit down on a terrace, order fresh mint tea and watch the world walk by- life doesn’t get any better than this!
Words / Ninette Murk
Ninette Murk is a fashion editor turned art curator and social activist, who dreams of making the world more beautiful in any way she can.