MARRAKECH MOROCCO ART FAIRS ARAB ART
In October this year, the tourist hotspot Marrakech, Morocco, will host the country’s first modern and contemporary art fair. The fair points towards a growing trend of interest and investment in art in the Middle East where Dubai, currently the top art city in the Middle East, is facing increasing competition from upcoming art ventures in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. (Read our report on this recent trend.)
Morocco, characteristically, is a country that culturally and geographically straddles the “east meets west” junction. That the Marrakech Art Fair shares some of these characteristics make it all the more special. Out of the thirty galleries exhibiting at the fair, half come from the Arab world, primarily North Africa while the other half come from Europe. For art lovers, this could provide an incredible opportunity to sample international contemporary art.
The city also plans to host simultaneous art events throughout the days of the fair. Some of these are special exhibitions at select museums and galleries in Marrakech. The idea behind engaging the city as a giant art fair in itself is to offer rare insights into Moroccan heritage and its contemporary art world.
The Marrakech Museum, for example, is hosting “Resonance: Contemporary Moroccan artists across the world”, which showcases fifteen artists of Moroccan origin who are based outside of Morocco. Inventing and re-thinking ideas of identity versus the global, these artists will work through various mediums such as painting, installation and video art to map new thoughts about the reality of art in Morocco. Another interesting intervention looks at the culmination of popular culture and art. Six graffiti artists will create spontaneous art to the music of Moroccan rapper BIGG over the period of one night.
Other events include talks such as the panel discussions led by Roxana Azimi, a specialist in the international art market, that will deal with the twin issues of “Art market in the Arab world” and “The role of patrons and collectors.” Pascel Amel, a writer and director, will lead a debate on “Art in Morocco at the dawn of globalization.” The talks seem to be marked with hope and enthusiasm for the place of Moroccan art in the world market as well as a belief in the possibility of internal development.
Fifteen of the galleries invited to the fair will respond to a set theme of “From Orientalism to nowadays.” The Jean Brolly gallery is one such participant that intends to showcase work by two artists of different origins – Mahjoud Ben Bella and Francois Morellet. Local galleries are active participants at the fair. The Tindouf Gallery and the Galerie 127 are based in Marrakech itself. Other galleries that are showing at the fair come from Tunisia, the UAE, France and Morocco. The fair will be held from 9 to 11 October this year. For more details, visit the fair’s website.
- Sheikh Sultan opens private collection to public putting Sharjah on UAE art map – August 2010 – we take a look at how a personal collection might indicate growing interest in Middle Eastern art
- Globalisation of contemporary art market evident in growth of art fairs – The Economist – August 2010 – points discussed include the hierarchy of art fair location, the lack of local artist representation
- Sotheby’s to hold first ever international auction house sale of calligraphy in Doha – July 2010 – Sotheby’s interest in heritage Asian art predates the recent contemporary boom and rakes in the largest sales, here’s a look at a recent sale in Doha
- Antonia Carver named Art Dubai director, lends Middle Eastern insight to fair– July 2010 – we take a look at how Carver’s experience in the Arab art world will effect the fair’s success
- Xu Zhen takes on Middle Eastern identities and cultures as the new artists’ collective alias Madeln at Ikon Gallery, UK – June 2010 – an in-depth look at how conceptual artist Xu Zhen fabricates his own identity