The Marrakech Biennale is a major festival in North Africa focusing on innovative modern art, photography and film. It was first held in November 2005 and over the last decade, has become a huge success in promoting the status of the artists and art in North Africa and in mobilising a creative dynamic between artists to debate on various social and political issues in the world.
The 6th Marrakech Biennale was officially opened on 24th February in the 19th Century Bahia Palace by the president of the Biennale, Mr. Amine Kabbaji. This year’s theme is “Not New Now”, focussing on the new movement of multi-disciplinary arts in Africa and Arab world but with a difference.
The concept of “Not New Now” concentrates on creative projects, artistic research, and innovative ideas that respond to the social and political urgencies in the world by looking at living art as a talent that serves people and society. The Biennale is examining how art is used as a means for cultural resistance and explores ideas ranging from abstraction and minimalism to recycling, junk art and creative survival technologies. It aims to unite artists from multiple disciplines and provide a creative ground for the display of exhibits by combining art and culture in a variety of historical locations in the city.
Marrakesh is home to the Biennale heritage sites such as Palais El Badi and Palais Bahia. The art comes from over fifty national and international known artists including curators Omar Berrada, Salma Lahlou and Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa, artists Mona Hatoum, Radhika Khimji, Oscar Murillo, The Otolith Group, Eric Van Hove and designer Yahya and architect Khaled Malas. They complement the ambitions of the Biennale in parallel with many simultaneous projects across the city. There is also the added benefit in viewing contemporary art within a historical context in the magical locations of gardens, mansions and palaces which are decorated by Islamic architectural designs and calligraphy.
The Biennale is a great opportunity to visit Marrakesh to explore the red city of the medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is enclosed by miles of ramparts and gates. To see this amazing city with its historical monuments and palaces along with art exhibits, photography exhibitions, art videos, installations and street art is something everyone should try to do at least once in their lifetime.
All photos © Mohammed Reza Amirinia
Amirinia is a freelance writer and journalist who has a passion for Documentary Photography, Social Photography and Photojournalism and wishes to share his journey and inspirations through his visual essays. His site can be found at http://www.amirinia.com