Marrakech Biennale looks North

Kicking off this week is the 4th Marrakech Biennale. The opening days will see performances, debates, talks and screenings as well as the opening of the main ‘Higher Atlas’ visual arts exhibition. “Through partnerships with African and international voices,” the Biennale hopes to “promote the status of the artist and contemporary culture in North Africa and to dynamize the regional creative scene.” Looking at the list of artists participating in the Higher Atlas exhibition, one could get the impression the intended “dialogues that [will] produce new, consensual realities” will most likely reflect a North Atlantic triangular reality with a tiny Moroccan base, since most of the contributing artists are European or American. The Moroccan artists that were included are Younes Baba-Ali, Faouzi Laatiris and Hassan Darsi. South of Morocco, they seem to have only found one artist: Pascale Marthine Tayou. So much for the African voices.

Among the movies scheduled to show in the Biennale’s film section are the dubious ‘I Am Slave’ (from 2010; Basia promises to put up a review soon), Moroccan Narjiss Nejjar’s new film ‘L’Amante du Rif’ but also writer and director Hicham Lasri’s first feature, ‘The End’, set in a postapocalyptic 1999, on the eve of the death of King Hassan II:

In the literature section, we find writers Latifa Baqa, Omar Berrada, Zahia Rahmani, Abderrahim Elkhassar and litfest veterans Ben Okri and Rian Malan.

Anybody in Marrakech to give us some feed-back? The Official Parallel Projects look interesting.


4 thoughts on “Marrakech Biennale looks North

  1. Dear AIAC!

    Thanks for your comments and news you are spreading within this blog and else.
    As an organizer and paritcipant of one of the Parallel Projects I am happy to give you first hand information, aswell as Fotos from the very contradictory Biennale.

    Greetings from Berlin, Katharina

  2. Dear Aiac,

    yes – sort of North, and yes – sort of “entre nous”. I am member of the Parallel Project
    “Dreams of Golden Fairy Tales or Paradox of a Natural Resource”. We have been working
    together with 2 Sudanese and one former Sudanese, now Swedish, artists. We had quite
    a show, that was dealing with the site “Marrakesh” as well as with the topic. THOUGH –
    unimaginable – neither the curators – who have chosen us as an official parallel project –
    nor the Biennale Organisators showed up during our exhibition. I think that says a lot.
    AND – beside all this : Have you ever seen such a ridicolous opening which was more than
    embarrasing. RED CARPETS and folk-groups standing along! WHAT a kolonial habbit.
    AND what a superficial way to look at the site and city, where this Biennale took place.
    AND – also by the way – neither a taxidriver, nor hoteliers, nor bankers nor other normal
    people in Marrakesh knew about the AIM will happen this spring. So – all in all – it has
    been a big celebrating for the very rich Marrakshis and their artist friends. Nothing else.
    And a context catalogue was 230 DHM. Who can afford this in Marocco? The Programm
    was not at all giving an idea about the shown art in Royal Theatre and elsewhere! I hope
    the reasonable Marrakshis will speak up soon!

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