The 6th Marrakech Biennale is taking a different turn with significant Moroccan input into the programme. The Executive President is Amine Kabbaj. The honorary President is André Azoulay advisor to His Majesty King Mohammed VI.
The Marrakech Biennale founded by Vanessa Branson to address cultural issues throught the medium of artistic expression is now an internationally recognised event which capitalises on Marrakech’s strength as a city of cultural diversity and historic World Heritage sites.
Mike Wood of the Riad Marrakech group of Riads Star, Cinnamon,Papillion and Dar Habiba comments : » As most Marrakech Bienalee events take place in the Medina, it’s a great advantage for those visiting Marrakech for the event to stay in a luxurious Riad close by. We are an official accommodation partner for the Biennale and for the 5th biennale we hosted an event featuring vintage music hall costumes at Riad Star. «
The Biennale supporting committee has encouraged new artistic creations and contributions from Africa ,the Middle East and their diasporas. The projects will be enacted by young artists from Arab, African and Moroccan sources.
For the first time the events will take place in public spaces in the city and will be free of charge to encourage greater audience participation. The public peformances will also be boosted by the Biennale’s collaboration with the organisers of Awaln’art the public spaces festival. The Biennale will continue for 11 weeks with daily performances,talks and symposiums.
The main exhibition is curated by Reem Fadda and other exhibitons have their own curators.The Visual Arts and Sound exhibition curated by Hicham Khalidi includes 43 artists from Morocco and other countries. Venues include the Palais Badi and the Dar Si Said Museum for Moroccan Arts , the former Bank Al Maghrib and the centre of the Jemaa El Fna Square.
The Cinema and Video exhibition curated by Jamal Abdenassar, founder of the video festival Casaprojecta will feature contemporary works from North Africa, Subsaharan Africa and the Middle East. The film screenings and roundtables will be accompanied with a carte blanche dedicated to the legendary La Cinematheque de Tanger.
The next exhibition is Literature curated by Moroccan writer Driss Ksikes and will present a series of roundtables and lectures which will take place at the Royal Theatre and two locations in the medina, the Riad Denise Masson and Dar Cherifa.Denise Massson was the first woman to translate the Koran into French. The Riad is now a centre for research and studies maintained in her honour. Dar Cherifa ,the oldest house in the Medina and hosts regular art exh ibitions. The literature section will take part with the other disciplines at the public gathering at the Jemaa El Fna.
A performing arts group will be organised by Khalid Tamer the founder of the Alwain’Art festival in Marrakech . It will connect the Biennale with the traditional buildings in the ancient medina and the modern Gueliz which was developed after the First World War.The audience will be encouraged to take part in the performances and participate in the Biennale.
The increased involvement of Moroccan writers and artists in the Biennale is an important development of Marrakech’s role as a venue for exhibiitons and festivals which link the international with the traditional environment of the red city with it’s fascinating history and local culture.