Afalkay Gallery – Home to Woodcarved Treasures
Most people who wish to spend time visiting art galleries in Morocco will tend to focus on galleries that display fine art or graphics. Most of the main galleries will have at least a small section dedicated to the art of wood carving, but few are dedicated solely to this intricate, traditional form of art. The Afalkay Art Gallery in Essaouira is one of the top galleries to visit if you wish to spend time examining this ever-beautiful form of art.
Most of the carved wood items in Morocco are made of ‘thuya wood’ (Tetraclinis articulate). This unusual wood comes from a coniferous tree that grows on the western foothills of the Atlas Mountains. The wood is ‘harvested’ by removing outgrowths on the roots of thuya trees which means that the entire tree does not have to be cut down in order to be used. The resulting burled grain is a delight to look at and is something that is exclusive to northern Africa.
This beautiful wood is used to craft a delightful range of wooden gifts such as jewelry boxes or treasure chests. You can also purchase small sculptures from this wood, but these are somewhat more unusual since most craft-styled arts in Morocco have a practical aspect to them. Once the item is created, the craftsman will usually rub lemon juice and vegetable oil into the wood for hours to reveal and highlight the wood’s natural grain. So, if you’d like to purchase a truly unique and special treat for a loved one back home, the Afalkay Art Gallery may not be a bad place to start. You’ll find it at 9 Place Prince Moulay el Hassan in Essaouira and it is open during regular business hours.