Marrakech Biennale 5 – Opening Week

The Marrakech Biennale’s fifth edition is officially underway. And what a weekend it was.

It seemed everyone was there. Alia Radman, director of operations for the Marrakech Biennale, told Made in Marrakech that attendance was up significantly over previous years as was participation from the local community.

This was just opening weekend. Exhibits are on display until March 31 2014.

A perfect weekend for a day out in the Agafay desert

With all that I had going on this weekend, I didn’t make it out to La Pause for the Voice in the Wilderness exhibit on display in the Agafay Desert.  But my friends from Riad Linda did and have so kindly agreed to let me use the photos on my blog.

Copyright Gordon Lyons
Copyright Gordon Lyons

I was off at the storytellers opening at Cafe Clock, with an opening talk by Richard Hamilton followed by young Moroccan apprentices telling stories in English. Stay tuned for more details on this fabulous program.

Pushing the envelope

Hind Bensari at Riad El Fenn, Copyright Mandy Sinclair
Hind Bensari at Riad El Fenn, Copyright Mandy Sinclair

One of my weekend highlights was meeting and viewing the film 475: Break the Silence by the adorable Hind Bensari.  I was shocked at some of the comments shown in her balanced reporting on the image and ideas of rape victims and women in Morocco.  Watch the trailer here: 

If you weren’t at L’Blassa on Saturday night, where were you?

The home of the several installation for the Biennale as well as Hassan Hajjaj’s cafe and a small boutique featuring Kahenas’ collection, L’Blassa was the place to be on Saturday night.  Gnaoua musicians had the trendy crowd moving to the cool sounds while admiring the exhibits throughout the art deco building located on the corner of Rue de la Liberte and Rue de Yugoslavie in Gueliz.

Pimp My Garbage, Marrakech Biennale 5, Copyright Mandy Sinclair
Pimp My Garbage, Marrakech Biennale 5, Copyright Mandy Sinclair

Though I found it somewhat claustrophobic to enter through the plastic water bottle filled entrance, the Pimp my Junk exhibit was a fascinating look at our lifestyles and the abundance of waste we produce.  Even the live model was reading a “trashy” magazine!  One of my favourite installations.

Accessible art

What I loved most about this biennale is the efforts made to make the art accessible. Trilingual schedules and explanations, employing locals to work on the event, featuring local artists, making local historical sites centres of the exhibitions.

Even the cats got involved!

Share(d)esign at ESAV, Copyright Mandy Sinclair
Share(d)esign at ESAV, Copyright Mandy Sinclair

Vernissages everywhere

With every gallery in town putting on a show, I will be spending the next month visiting the spaces I was too busy to visit during opening week, namely Galerie Tindouf.  But the one I did visit was Voice Gallery in Sidi Ghanem, Marrakech’s industrial zone, exhibiting the works of Eric Van Hove who was recreated a Mercedes Benz motor using Moroccan crafts3.

The actual motor is on display in the former Bank el Maghrib in Jeema El Fenn square and what a work of art it is!

Copyright Mandy Sinclair
Copyright Mandy Sinclair

The details was just fabulous!

Copyright Mandy Sinclair
Copyright Mandy Sinclair

And as we all gathered around during a party, we saw this work of art come to life.  A strange event, we watched as a map of Africa was welded into a piece of metal and celebrated the completion by throwing the actual piece of Africa in a pool.

Copyright Mandy Sinclair
Copyright Mandy Sinclair

I closed out the weekend with a lazy Sunday afternoon on the rooftop terrace of Cafe Clock Marrakech.  Gnaoua musicians, a graffiti artist, milkshakes and a sunny afternoon provided the perfect ingredients to reflect on a fabulous art-filled weekend!

Cafe Clock Marrakech, Copyright Mandy Sinclair
Cafe Clock Marrakech, Copyright Mandy Sinclair

I’ve spent the past few days catching up on sleep. Perhaps it a good thing that the Marrakech Biennale only comes around every two years!

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