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The fifth edition of the Marrakech Biennale poses the question Where are we now? through a dialogue between four disciplines: visual arts, cinema / video, literature and performing arts, the latter a new discipline of the Marrakech Biennale as of 2014. This question can be raised in different fields of the geographical, philosophical and socio-political discourse. 2014 will see the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Marrakech Biennale, which has constantly been building bridges between Morocco and beyond, stimulating a dialogue between cultures through the realm of visual art, literature and cinema.
With a strong will to ground the Biennale in Marrakech, this fifth edition is carried by a new team where each member has a strong connection to, and a deep understanding of, the contemporary cultural scene in Morocco. Through its artistic director Alya Sebti, a curator specialized in contemporary art from North Africa, the official programme of the Marrakech Biennale will be curated by Hicham Khalidi (visual arts), Khalid Tamer (performing arts), Jamal Abdenassar (cinema and video) and Driss Ksikes (literature). By inviting 32 visual artists from 16 different countries to produce commissioned and site-specific pieces, the curators encourage the participating artists to respond to this question in their own individual way. By defining new articulations between Visual Arts, Literature, Cinema & Video, and Performance - the curators aim to open up the creative process and to analyse and reveal the nexus of cultural influences between Marrakech and the rest of the world, with Marrakech at the centre.
Marrakech developed hundreds of years ago into one of the main cultural and religious centres for the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. Today the city still finds itself within Morocco, the Maghreb, Africa and with a close connection to the Middle-East; but also in the middle of a transition phase of our global society. Founded as a reaction to the international political situation in the beginning of the 21st century and the consequent negative perception in the Arab world, the aim of the Marrakech Biennale is to gather local, regional and international audiences in order to stimulate dialogues, and to invite emerging and established artists from all over the world to create new pieces of site-specific nature. The official programme of the 2014 edition will be connected to ten selected parallel projects showing the wide breadth of interpretations on the theme of Where are we now?. As a participatory event, fringe projects will pop up everywhere in the city, coinciding with the dates of the Marrakech Biennale.
History of the Marrakech Biennale
In 2004 with the rise of global tensions, Vanessa Branson envisioned a cultural festival that would address social issues through the arts, using them as a vehicle for debate and discussion and to build bridges between diverse ideologies. The Marrakech Biennale would become a celebration of creativity in a city that has been the focus of artistic exploration for centuries but with limited emphasis on contemporary art. Beginning in 2005 as a gathering of arts enthusiasts who organised literary events and exhibitions, the Biennale has grown to become an internationally recognised event with a thriving visual art and literature programme. Pevious participants include artists from a wide spectrum of disciplines, such as Esther Freud, Patricia Esquivias, Josef Kosuth, Hanif Kureishi, Anri Sala, Julian Schnabel and Zadie Smith.
Marrakech Biennale is a young non-for-profit organization, with an efficient Management Team including President and Founder Vanessa Branson, Vice President Amine Kabbaj, General Director Stefan Holwe, Artistic Director Alya Sebti, and Operational Director Alia Radman, The team work closely together with the Biennale Advisory Board and the Artistic Steering Committee, and leading up to each event, the team grows through freelance professionals and volunteers.
Please see also:
Review of Marrakech Biennale 5
By Lucrezia Cippitelli, March 2014
Marrakech Biennale 5 - Visual & Sound Arts section
Press information, published in 2014
Marrakech Biennale 5
Where are we now?
26 February - 31 March 2014
Artistic Director: Alya Sebti
Hicham Khalidi (visual arts)
Khalid Tamer (performing arts)
Jamal Abdenassar (cinema and video)
Driss Ksikes (literature)
Marrakech Biennale Association
Riad el-Fenn (House of Art)
2 Derb Moulay Abdallah Ben Hezzian
Bab el-Ksour, Medina