There’s a new gallery in town. It promises to be a non-profit, independent museum dedicated to showcasing contemporary African art through a variety of mediums, which all touch upon topics that are prominent to the political dialogue within the continent of Africa.

“To familiarize, to transmit, to make discover, to make love art, to the young public in particular, are missions that we gave ourselves and which guide our action. We act with the idea that culture is a common good. It can be a great lever for development.” – Othman Lazraq, Director of the Alliance Foundation & President of MACAAL.

In conjunction with the epic 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, which had it’s Marrakech debut this weekend at La Mamounia; MACAAL launched with their exhibition “Africa Is No Island”. This exhibition brought together in excess of 40 emerging and established photographers, focusing purely on an African perspective.

Africa Is No Island celebrates and showcases Afrique in Visu’s decade long work and research into challenging common perspectives and misconceptions of the continent of Africa. The artists who’s work was showcased in this exhibition have focused on cultural concepts of tradition, spirituality, family and the environment, within the context of modern African experiences and daily life.

The curators  Jeanne Mercier, Baptiste de Ville d’Avray & Madeleine de Colnet,  decided on works which were based on three main themes;  “Je suis ma représentation” (I am my own representation), “Dessiner des géographies” (Drawing Borders) and “Recueillir l’histoire” (Transcribe History).

Participating artists included; ANNA RAIMONDO, AYANA V. JACKSON, BAUDOUIN MOUANDA, EDGAR MARSY , FRANÇOIS-XAVIER GBRÉ, HICHAM BENOHOUD, HICHAM GARDAF, ISHOLA AKPO, JOAN BARDELETTI, JOANA CHOUMALI, LEBOHANG KGANYE,  MAÏMOUNA GUERRESI,  MOHAMED EL BAZ, MOHAMED EL MOURID, MOHAMMED LAOULI & KATRIN STRÖBEL,  MOUNA KARRAY, MUSTAPHA AZEROUAL , NAMSA LEUBA , NICOLA LO CALZO, NYABA LÉON OUEDRAOGO, SAMMY BALOJI, WALID LAYADI-MARFOUK and many more.

The launch night was a fantastic event, on an evening where the moon was spectacularly low and orange in the cloudless sky. Skeptical of lunar influence or not, there was an undeniably effervescent energy about the place. Upon arrival, a short walk through a well kept garden took us to the glass fronted gallery entrance. Sat just outside the entrance upon a quilt of red carpets, was a group of indigenous berber women who were chanting their shrill zagareet (ululations). This welcoming and fully-charged sound created a great hype for what was in store.

The entrance opens out into an expansive lobby, with high ceilings and doorless openings which tangent off into other areas of the gallery. For this event, the lobby was dotted with fantastic sculpture  and photography works. Including two particuarly eye-catching wall length photographs by Maïmouna Gueressi an Italian artist who converted to Sufism in 1991; combining mixed media of sculpture, photography, videography and the human form in her works.

The pieces on display at the launch combined sound, light, photographic images and poetry to paint a picture of various elements and topics of discussion upon the motherland, Africa.

A short walk through another beautiful & minimalistic garden, took us to an open hall filled with bright lights and music. A live band played an amalgamation of tracks featuring afrobeat, gnawa and remixes of familiar chart topping tunes. The bar was open and full to the brim, whilst a huge and luxurious buffet spread invited guests to try a variety of traditional Moroccan dishes. As the night went on, various dance performances graced the stage and a live D.J took over the sound system to keep everybody moving.

To find out more about future events at MACAAL, follow the link to their main website.

If you wish to visit Marrakech and discover more of the incredible art and inspiration available to you, why not contact us and book your luxury accommodation today?