Arts + festival may just be my two favourite words. So when the Marrakech Biennale comes around every two years, I get ridiculously excited!
But this year I had another reason to be excited – I was the international press officer. That’s right. For the weeks leading up to opening week, I had the pleasure of arranging interviews, learning and writing about artists’ projects and hearing curator Reem Fadda speak so passionately about this year’s Biennale themed Not New Now. Forty-six artists within the main exhibition have prepared projects, research, and ideas that respond to socio-political urgencies, representative of “living art” – an art that is for the people and society whilst harnessing aesthetic forms and poetics.
So after assisting with the organization of the press conference, press preview and then coordinating interviews for the tens of print journalists, television crews and radio reporters, I am delighted to share some of my must-sees from this year’s festival which runs until 8 May and is free and open to the public:
- Watch the sunset behind El Anatsui’s Kindred Viewpoints installation at the Badii Palace
- Bahia Palace is filled with amazing installations. I cannot pick just one!
- Settle in and watch Bouchra Khalili’s film Living Labour about modern-day slavery in New York City in the harram section of the Bahia Palace, open to the public for the first time
- Explore the Koutoubia Cisterns and watch a film by SuperFlex about immigration or video installations about magic and superstition in Africa by Kader Attia
- L’Blassa on Rue de la Liberté houses a collection of installations, video and photography that are not to be missed. I was lucky to meet Yasmina Alaoui and understand the archeological site inspiration behind her untitled piece. Next door Marco Guerra presents a wonderful collection of photographs entitled Tangiers
- KE’CH Collective looks amazing!
- The palm-leaf masks at Cafe Clock are unreal and oh so unique. Graffiti artist Hicham Bellaghzal will also be on site on Fridays until 18 March working on his graffiti installation
- Venture down to the Menara Gardens and appreciate the works by brilliant artists including Khaled Malas
- The geometric sculptures by Dana Awartani at Dar Si Said are beautiful as is the setting. Don’t miss Mona Hatoum’s politically charged pieces either!
- Sidi Larbi Charkaoui will be in Marrakech on 11 March presenting 4D at Théâtre Dar Attakafa at 20h30 as part of the On Marche contemporary dance aspect of MB6
- The MB6: Street art team headed by Vestalia Chilton has left their graffiti mark on buildings surrounding the spice square, Dar El Bacha region and near the entrance to the Bahia Palace
Given Marrakech’s location at the crossroads of African and Middle Eastern culture, but also the great venues it’s home to: Bahia Palace, Badii Palace, Dar Si Said, the Menara Gardens and even the Koutoubia Mosque including the cisterns, all official venues provide an interesting canvas.
Photo: Courtesy of Marrakech Biennale 6 NOT NEW NOW. Copyright www.jensmartin.com