Our blog post this week comes from Paris and specifically from the Fondation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent where until July 20, the exhibition Berber Women of Morocco will be showing. The exhibition is divided into three spaces focusing on the following topics: Portrait of the Berber Women of Morocco, Skills and Craftsmanship and Traditional Clothing and Adornment.
Within these three spaces, amongst other beautiful things, are: headdresses of Berber brides, multiple silver chains, fertility beads and Tagmout enamelled silver balls.
There are no formal clothes on display – the Berbers wear large pieces of cloth held together by jewellery – but instead the curator Bjorn Dahlstrom has projected images of these onto flat screens.
The accompanying book, published by Artlys (192 pages), explains how these ornate pieces not only symbolise Berber identity but how they also reveal the strength of the women within her community.
This travelling exhibition will next travel to Bahrain before moving closer to home to Rabat.
You can see some of the displays, online here: www.fondation-pb-ysl.net
Founder of Cinema Maroc Houda Lakhdar is an expert blogger and a graduate of the Higher School of Visual Arts, Marrakech. Well known on the indie film circuit, Lakhdar’s short film “Zahra” – produced in 2012 – made its debut at the Spring Festival of Arab Cinema in Paris as well as at the Festival of Mediterranean Short Films, Tangier. So, given all this, Lakhdar is well placed to run a successful blog on the Moroccan film industry.
The website Lakhdar runs, Cinema Maroc, covers most aspects of Moroccan film and is a must-visit for movie-buffs. There is a News section which informs visitors to the site about what is happening right now – usually interviews and events – and a Ranking section which reviews films, normally independent ones. The Archives section is crammed full of factoids about actors, little-known films and interviews with local film stars.
The website is regularly updated here www.cinema-maroc.com and you can follow on Twitter too @CinemaMaroc
There might be blue skies in Morocco, but winter drags on in much of northern Europe and America. A great way to feel the warmth of Morocco is to tune in to the exotic sounds of Ness Radio.
Founded in 2008 in Marrakech by Younes Duret and Wattfutchureez, Ness Radio is the first collaborative Internet radio broadcast from Morocco. Broadcasting an eclectic range of music styles from house and electro to jazz, soul and hip-hop, the ethos of Ness Radio is to provide an exchange and sharing platform that transcends borders.
The radio station has recently released its first compilation: Kafilah 2.0. Kafilah 2.0 is a collaborative project that brings together 16 artists from different backgrounds around the theme of ‘Maghreb, East and West.’ The curious name has been inspired by the ancient adventurer Ibn Battuta who roamed the shores of the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia mainly through the Kafilah (caravan). The ‘2.0’ relates to the digital age.
The first 3 songs of the compilation have just become available as a free download. Expect to hear Gnawa rhythms and sax solos from Hamada El Mansour and work from French producer Woodini.
Listen to the radio station here and the first three tracks of Kafilah 2.0: http://nessradio.com/
If you are in Marrakech between the 8th to the 12th of January, head along to the Théâtre Royal to see Lucinda Arundell’s wonderful art exhibition.
The show is called Ben Salah Medina and the artist – who trained under Robert Lenkiewicz for several years – will be at the exhibition most days to talk about her work.
The artist lives and paints in Marrakech and is well-established having won the Lloyds Art Group prize in 2008 and having exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London and various other British galleries.
She is most noted for her series ‘Floating Girls’ which contains recurrent themes which run throughout her work. Floating, sleeping, freedom and children all feature regularly.
More recently, Arundell’s work has focused on trying to capture the life of the people in the Ben Salah quarter in Marrakech’s Medina –which is what this show is all about.
The exhibition is in aid of the Ben Salah Association for Social Development and admission is free.
Find out more, here: http://www.lucinda-arundell.com/
Martin Scorsese and his band of jurists – Fatih Akin, Patricia Clarkson, Marion Cotillard, Amat Escalante, Golshifteh Farahani, Anurag Kashyap, Narjiss Nejjar, Park Chan-wook and Paolo Sorrentino – have announced the winners of the 2013 Marrakech International Film Festival.
The South Korean director Lee Su-jin took the grand festival prize ‘The Golden Star’, for his drama Han Gong-Ju. The jury prize was given to American Jeremy Saulnier for his arty revenge film Blue Ruin, he shared the prize with Carlos Machado Quintela for The Swimming Pool.
Best Director went to Andrea Pallaoro (USA, Italy and Mexico) for Medeas, while Best Actress went to Alicia Vikander for the film Hotell by Lisa Langseth, from Sweden. Best performance by an actor went to Didier Michon and Slimane Dazi for the film Fevers by Hicham Ayouch (France and Morocco).
The festival, with the support of the Moroccan king, screened 15 films over eight days and paid special tribute to Scandinavian cinema and artists, as well as honoring the US actress Sharon Stone and the Moroccan actor Mohamed Khouyi.
Another 110 films from 23 countries were also screened throughout the festival’s duration.
Read more about the festival here: http://en.festivalmarrakech.info
There is a lot of excitement building about the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Art (MMP+) which is set to open in 2016.
Ahead of the launch MMP+ invited five highly-regarded photographers from Magnum Photos to shoot the people and streets of Marrakech over the course of two weeks. The results can now be viewed at the exhibition ‘Portrait of Marrakech.’ Curated by Simon Njami, the show is on until 1 February 2014 at the El Badi Palace – the museum’s temporary home.
Of all the photographers exhibiting, we particularly recommend the South African photographer Mikhael Subotzky, who took to the back of a motorcycle to take his shots.
This unusual tactic allows the viewer a ‘similar but different’ examination of familiar streets. By using six different cameras, all of which were mounted to the vehicle, the result is dizzying and hypnotic. The cameras used were the sort that estate agents normally like to employ in order to capture the inside of buildings and give a 360-degree viewpoint.
His cameras expertly recorded the everyday life of Marrakech. There are all the usual scenes of the tourist buses, carts, donkeys, women out shopping and children laughing but the way they have been captured is entirely new. It is this mixture that makes his work so fascinating.
Learn more from the MMP+ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MMPVA
Moroccan hip-hop artist
Famous in Morocco, SiSimo is one of the country’s best-loved hip-hop stars. He can be heard on the radio, seen on the TV and watched at festivals and concerts. We heard about him from the excellent website www.moroccolondon.co.uk. They reported on his latest album ‘Bach Jay Bach Dayr’, which is now available worldwide via iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. The album is split into two, on the first side it is modern rap-rock, and on the second, there’s more of an old-school vibe.
What is refreshing about SiSimo is that he doesn’t rap about the usual topics – it’s not all jewellery and fast cars – instead he raps about Moroccan society and tries to pass on positive messages. He may only be 28 years old but he understands social injustices poverty, illiteracy, crime and the high cost of living and he’s not afraid to sing about them. In fact, his most famous song, “Kilimini” speaks directly of the wealth gap in Moroccan society.
His website is here www.sisimo.ma and you can hear some of his best songs, here on his FaceBook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/SiSimoofficialfanpage
Marrakech is readying itself for its 13th annual Film Festival, which will run from 29 November – 7 December. The latest celebrity news is that Oscar Winner Marion Cotillard will join American director Martin Scorsese (President on this year’s jury) on the judging panel. She joins an ever-increasing number of big-star international names who will sit on the jury this year, including Oscar nominee Patricia Clarkson, Amat Escalante, Paolo Sorrentino, Korean director Park Chan-wook, Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and Turkish director Fatih Akin. The jury votes on the festival’s top prize, the Golden Star, as well as many other prizes like best film, best actor and best actress.
The festival will open with the Indian film Ram-leela, the latest by director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who will be in attendance with leading actress Deepika Padukone. The film is a modern version of Romeo and Juliet and it harks back to 2012 when the Marrakech International Film Festival was dedicated to Indian cinema in 2012. True to its international focus, the festival will pay tribute to Scandinavian cinema on 5 December.
Former style editor, Alessandra Lippini of Italian Vogue and her partner, Fabrizio Bizzarri, have to be one of the most stylish couples in Marrakech. It’s true that there are quite a few concept shops now in the city, but this fabulously fashionable pair kick-started the trend several years ago and their emporium-cum-gallery, Ministero Del Gusto, is an inspirational and good looking space.
Racks of carefully chosen vintage couture clothes stand alongside designer wooden furniture, bas reliefs and trinkets that have been sourced from all around the world. The space is also a hive of creativity and a few times a year the couple put on an art exhibition or a musical gathering, a taster of their art and design school which they have created along with Italian architect Sergio Calatroni located out in Tahanaoute (20km or so away). Make an appointment if you can, but impromptu visits are also welcomed.
There’s no better way to get a handle on visual art, cinema and video, literature, performing art and architecture than to get involved with the Marrakech Biennale. Under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and attracting an international and local audience, the fifth edition of Marrakech’s Biennale asks “Where are we now?” This theme explores where Marrakech finds itself in relation to Morocco and Africa; as well as looking at its deep connections – via history, economy, culture and the media – with the Middle East, Europe, Americas and Asia.
Set to launch on February 26th, 2014, the event promises to bring together local, regional and international audiences in order to examine this key question.
As well as several curated projects, smaller, fringe projects will pop up across the city during the event. Past participants have included musicians like Coco Rosie, writers like Ben Okri and prize-winning director Faouzi Bensaidi. All in all, we think it’s a particularly great time to be in Marrakech.
To buy tickets: VIP tickets, the Friends of the Biennale and the MB Patrons Packages, are now online. Tickets are limited.
Day passes and week passes will be available from the box office beginning February 1st, 2014.
More information here: http://www.marrakechbiennale.com/