Turning the world on its head is what contemporary art is all about, and the 4th biennial in Marrakech is no exception.
The main installations are situated here in the extraordinary Theatre Royale, a building which can house the largest of works.The Marrakech Biennale seeks to build cultural bridges through the arts – therefore the invited artists worked in together with the city’s traditional craftsmen
Vanessa Branson is thePresident of the Marrakech Biennial: “All the 39 artists who have come from abroad have spent any number of weeks last year staying in Marrakech responding to the city. And then they put forward proposals on what they are going to do. But while they were with us we twinned each artist with students from the university. And these students introduced them to the local craftsmen and people who could help them with their projects.”
The medina or old town teems with life – and crafts and many of these have been incorporated into contemporary works.
Ihsane Boudrig is an artist and teacher of art in Marrakech.
“What I find good is that the biennial brings a concentrated number of artists to our town without requiring us to go travelling around the world. I personally have had the opportunity to work in other countries and to practice art in other countries, but I haven’t had the luck to see such a large number of artists as there are here at the Marrakech Biennial.”
Both local and international artists contributed to the display. The opening five days of the festival also included debates, talks and screenings.
Zahia Rahmani a Frenchwriter and art historian
“It seems to me that contemporary art has been globalised and as we saw with the Arab Spring, young people have become more sensitive to global events, it is shared, whether it is in China, like today in Syria, in Egypt, in New York with Occupy Wall Street, Tunisia or here there is a shared sensitivity among the youth.”
With typical Morroccan exuberance, the opening of the art exhibition was liberally sprinkled with song and dance performances.
The biennial runs until the end of May.