Thursday, 30 April 2015

The buzzing art scene of Marrakech

The art scene in Marrakech is definitely a happening one! Maybe it has much to do with the city’s cultural queen Vanessa Branson and her Marrakech Biennale that seems to be growing for each time. In 2016 we look forward to the 6th edition and its theme “Traces”. We also look forward to the opening of the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts in 2016 that will be the world's largest photography museum!
But in the meantime there are so many art museums and several art galleries worth visiting!
First off: Galerie Ré
Galerie Ré was founded by Lucien Viola in 2006 with the aim to work with contemporary Moroccan and international artists who create in sculpture, paint, photography and installation art.
Galerie Ré is in the centre of Guéliz, the new town, and is a very chic gallery. We went there to the opening of the exhibition "Bird Conversations" by Kati Lawrence a copule of weeks ago. We enjoyed the beautiful paintings as much as meeting both old and new friends over a nice free glass of chilled wine.

A few beautiful art objects at the sophisticated Galerie Ré. We especially liked the painting of a peacock.

Secondly: Voice gallery

The Voice gallery is located in the industrial quarter Sidi Ghanem, about 5-10 minutes with car from the medina. We went here in February when the moroccan photographer Rim Battal had a vernissage.

The Voice gallery shows both moroccan and international young artists. 

Thirdly: Galerie 127
Galerie 127 opened up in 2006 and exhibits beautiful photographs on its 4 meter high walls. 

Another cool gallery is Galerie 127, located on 127 Mohammed V Avenue in a big bright loft in an otherwise quite dull building in Guéliz. Recently they had an exhibition of photos of the king’s grandfather, Mohammed V, and it was rumored that the king himself bought several objects. We however went by there to see the exhibition "Une femme Francias en Orient" followed by an evening at Dar Bellarj in the heart of the medina where we saw the 54 minute long documentary "Voyage chez les Wodaabes" by Marie-Laure de Decker. 

Dar Bellarj

Dar Bellarj opened its doors in 1999 and is located next to the Ben Youssef Medersa (Quranic school). The name means "House of the storks" and is said to have been a hospital for storks.
Rachida, our excellent housekeeper, brought us to Dar Bellarj.
At the moment there is an exciting exhibition at Dar Bellarj called "Feminim Pluriel" that is a cooperation with the Marrakech film school and some anonymous local women.
This piece caught our attention!
Not far from Dar Bellarj is the "Maison de la Photographie" that was established in 2009. It is cituated in a traditional morocan foundouk and has several floors with fantastic photos from 1870 and onwards. It is quite hard to tell how old the photos are sometimes since most of the feel so modern. 
Maison de la Photographie
We have brought many of our friends to this excellent museum!

To explore new Moroccan artists the Musée de la Palmeraie is the place to go. It is some 10 minutes by car outside the city and is not easy to find but when you get there you are greeted not only by loads of paintings but also by an amazing lush garden. The museum has several buidlings and exhibits around 50 different artists. Besides paintings there are also quite a few interesting sculptures and some photographs.

Musée de la Palmeraie
A selection of the art found in this quite new museum.

The Musée de la Palmeraie is worth a visit just to see all the incredible cactus trees
You can actually find art everywhere in Marrakech, here are some artworks that we have caught on camera while walking down the alleys and derbs in the medina. Just keep your eyes and mind open and you will begin to see them everywhere.

Some examples of street art in Marrakech
Finally a quote from one of our favourite books: “If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.” - Yann Martel, Life of Pi.

And remember that life imitates art far more than art imitates life!
See you soon!