Starting with colours | Art Exhibition by Moulay Youssef Elkahfai from Marrakech and Cologne artist Georg Gartz

For German artist Georg Gartz it was a creative trip. Two months he spent in Moroccan town Marrakech, working and connecting with local artists. “I’ve rented a place in a Riad in the Medina, the ancient parts of the city,” Gartz says. And he got in touch with artist Moulay Youssef Elkahfai. He, well-known in the Moroccan art scene, and Gartz connected over art. Not over language, since both don’t speak each other’s language.

Both share a common approach to art. “We start with colour,” says Georg Gartz. His, oftentimes large paintings, live from a burst of colours. Sometimes with the character of streetart, sometimes with forms and pieces of Morrocon traditional art.

Moulay Youssef Elkahfai also starts with colours. Colourful surfaces that are the beginning of more figurative paintings.

What started as a meeting of two artists, now resulted in two exhibitions. One in Marrakech, where Gartz, born in German town Krefeld in 1955 and later a student at Cologne University of applied sciences, presented his work. The other one in Cologne under the title “People and Places.”

While the latter, finding a place to paint and draw, wasn’t that easy for Georg Gartz – at least in Marrakech. “It was a challenge to find a spot to sit at in the Riad,” Gartz remembers. A plastic chair was the solution to the problem. Sometimes carrying it on his back, the chair also was a good starting point for a conversation with locals, Gartz says.

Moulay Youssef Elkahfai (left) and Georg Gartz at their Cologne exhibition.

For Elkahfai it was a challenge to bring a collection of his paitings to Germany. Mostly for logistical reasons. “His paintings are very different to other artists’ work in Morocco,” Gartz says of Moulay Youssef Elkahfai. They are made of a more European approach, he states. “Cologne can be proud to have him here“, says Gartz. “He is a very successful artist in Morocco.