20 Feb Five new cultural sites to visit in Marrakech
By Mandy Sinclair
Since the Marrakech Biennale 6 kicked off last February and with the 10-day Conference of the Parties 22 (COP 22) in Marrakech in November, the city seems to be a hotbed of culture. New museums, art galleries and parks are opening regularly and touching on interesting subjects ranging from African art to a museum dedicated to water.
Exploring the current exhibition at MACAAL, Essential Paysage visitors are exposed to ideas about nature and environment as presented through the artworks of various modern and contemporary African artists. Ideas about recycling, pollution, clean water are just some of the themes expressed in the beautiful contemporary art installations and photographs on display. While steeped largely in Moroccan artists, the African masks created using recycled materials provide a fresh take on what’s traditional on display (and widely available throughout the medina). Meanwhile Moroccan artist Mohamed Melehi’s colourful installation speaks to climate change.
Step outside and enjoy the sculptural park featuring the artworks of international artists adorning the golf course. Or grab a tea from the stylish on-site café and enjoy stunning views. Don’t miss the gallery shop on the way out for fine Moroccan arts and crafts by some of the leading designers and artists including Fadila El Gadi, Karim Tassi, Ulili and Hassan Hajjaj.
In opening the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, founder Alami Lazraq says that “Familiarizing, transmitting, exposing – young audiences in particular – to art and making them love it, are the task we have set for ourselves and that determine our action. We work with the idea that culture is a common good that can be a powerful lever for development. And it is with the conviction that the visual culture of a country or a continent is an important part of its identity, of its history but also of its future to celebrate together our continent’s creative energy.”
Entrance is 40.00 MAD per person and includes a guided tours of the musem.
Musée Mohammed VI de la Civilisation de l’eau au Maroc
When Crown Prince Moulay Hassan opened the Musée Mohammed VI de la Civilisation de l’eau au Maroc on 5 January in Marrakech, the public were invited to learn about water management and the important role water plays not only in history, but in the Islamic culture. Water, viewed as a means of purification through ablutions prior to prayer, is also a precious resource given the local climate. As such, the Koran mentions moderating one’s use while ensuring its distribution is fair and accessible for all within the community.
Le Jardin des Arts
Opened during the COP22, the Jardin des Art spruces up the walk between Marrakech’s new town known as Gueliz and the Marrakech medina. Featuring the works of 13 Moroccan artists including Mahi Binebine, Mohamed Melehi, Fatiha Zemmouri and a bench by Hassan Hajjaj, it’s the perfect space to witness first hand Morocco’s leading sculptural artists. The park is located on the busy Avenue Mohamed V just before the Bardai roundabout, near the walls leading towards Jemaa el Fna.
The imaginative ANIMA garden at the base of the Atlas Mountains and designed by André is the perfect place to wander on a day out from Marrakech. Colourful and artistic, the sculptures blend perfect amongst the botanical wonders, pavilions and shady paths that lead through the two-hectare garden just 27 kilometres from Marrakech in the Ourika Valley.
Shuttle service is offered from the Koutoubia Mosque to the gardens and is included in the price of admission (120.00MAD per person).
Opened in Feburary 2016, this small gallery has hosted some interesting and thought-provoking exhibits including an inaugural exhibition of works by Mahi Binebine and Najia Mehadji. The permanent exhibition, Expressions of Orientalism, provides a retrospective of Western painters who arrived in Morocco from the end of the nineteenth century until the 1960s and the artworks they created while unveiling the mysteries of the Orient. The museum currently has a naïf art exhibit on display featuring the works of the Moroccan art naïf greats including: Moulay Hmed Drissi, Mohamed Hamri, Mohamed Ben Allal, Said Ait Youssef, Ahmed Louardiri (Detail of the work above, Fatima Hassan El Ferrouj, Ahmed Balili, Chaibia Tallal, Abbès Saladi et Mohamed Tabbal.
The museum is open daily (except Sundays) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is located in the Passage Ghandouri in Gueliz. Entrance is 40.00 MAD per person.