Street Art Transforms Morocco's Capital Into A Living Canvas

street art

Graffiti has been called many things: an urban scourge, a sign of civilization's breakdown, a petty crime.

But in Rabat, the city's residents are throwing their arms open to welcome a dizzying array of murals, frescoes and paintings by street artists, infusing the streets of Morocco's capital with new life.

The first annual Jidar Festival, held from May 15-24, 2015, is a celebration of public art. Artists from all over the world have converged on the seaside city, transforming Rabat itself into a canvas. This spring, splashes of unruly color peek out everywhere from under palm trees.

Below, take a look at the Jidar Festival's lush collection of urban art.

  • Artist: Inti - Chile
    A graduate of the School of Fine Arts in Vina del Mar, <a href="" target="_blank">Chil
    Anouar Oubnichou
    A graduate of the School of Fine Arts in Vina del Mar, Chilean artist INTI is inspired by South American pop culture, pre-Columbian art and the contemporary history of his country.
  • Artist: Kalamour - Morocco
    Abdellatif Farhate, of Casablanca, <a href="" target="_blank">paints u
    Anouar Oubnichou
    Abdellatif Farhate, of Casablanca, paints under the name Kalamour. His creative process combines portraits, elements of sacred geometry and fantastic figures.
  • Artist: Cisco - Spain
    Cisco is<a href="" target="_blank"> a major figure in the Spanish graffiti scene.</a>
    Anouar Oubnichou
    Cisco is a major figure in the Spanish graffiti scene. The tattoo artist features abstract works where the attitude and position of the character take precedence over realism.
  • Artist: Pixel Pancho - Italy
    Based in Turin, <a href="" target="_blank">Pixel Pancho</a> is famous for his gigan
    Anouar Oubnichou
    Based in Turin, Pixel Pancho is famous for his gigantic murals of robotic creatures. He draws inspiration mainly from surrealist works by Salvador Dali and Impressionist Joaquín Sorolla.
  • Artist: C215 - France
    C215 <a href="" target="_blank">leaves his mark wherever he goes.</a> Th
    Anouar Oubnichou
    C215 leaves his mark wherever he goes. This stencil artist uses wild colors with extreme precision.
  • Artist: C215 - France
    Anouar Oubnichou
  • Artist: Zepha - France
    A specialist in calligraphy, Zepha,<a href="" target="_blank"> aka Vincent Abadie Hafez Zepha,
    Anouar Oubnichou
    A specialist in calligraphy, Zepha, aka Vincent Abadie Hafez Zepha, took part in the graffiti movement in France in the 1980s. His lyrical, geometric compositions catch the eye -- and the heart.
  • Artist: Jaz - Argentina
    Hailing from Argentina, <a href="" target="_blank">Jaz started working on graffiti in
    Anouar Oubnichou
    Hailing from Argentina, Jaz started working on graffiti in 1999. Inspired by "Lucha Libre" (Mexican wrestling), his works depict colorful clashes between man and beast.
  • Artist: Simo Mouhim - Morocco
    A graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Casablanca in 2003, <a href="" target="_blank">Simo Mo
    Anouar Oubnichou
    A graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Casablanca in 2003, Simo Mouhim's graffiti is dominated by shades of gray.
  • Artist: Maya Hayuk - USA
    Ukrainian-American mural artist <a href="" target="_blank">Maya Hayuk</a> creates compositions that
    Anouar Oubnichou
    Ukrainian-American mural artist Maya Hayuk creates compositions that commingle geometric abstraction and riotous color.

Photos by Anouar Oubnichou

This article was originally published on HuffPost Morocco and was adapted for an American audience.