Marrakech Biennale 2014

First held in November 2005, the Marrakech Biennale is the first major trilingual (English, Arabic and French) festival in North Africa focusing on cutting-edge contemporary art, cinema and video, literature, performing arts and architecture.

Jurgen Meyer, Satellite, 2012. Photo: Raimar Weinskowski 2012.

The Marrakech Biennale 2014 opening: February 26, 2014, seeks to build cultural bridges through the arts, as well as between disciplines by enabling discussions with and between artists. By bringing together artists, filmmakers, performers, writers and architects from around the world, the Biennale aims to promote the status of the artist and contemporary culture in North Africa and to dynamize the regional creative scene. Held every two years, the Marrakech Biennale promotes intercultural and interdisciplinary exchanges through an educational approach that addresses art professionals, students and the general public.

The Marrakech Biennale has just completed its fourth edition, between February and June of this year. It was a great success from the previous one in 2009. We hosted 84 participants in three fields: visual arts, film and literature. The event attracted 54,000 visitors and integrated 44 student interns as well created 238 local jobs. Moreover, we have created a substantial number of connections with local artisans, arts foundations and universities who have all collaborated in making this year’s biennale an international spectacle. Over 250 various forms of press featured the Biennale in their magazines, newspapers, blogs, and newsletters making Marrakech a leading platform of art in Africa and the Arab world. Moreover, we are honored to have received the patronage of His Royal highness King Mohamed VI of Morocco.

We are currently planning our fifth edition that will take place over a span of six weeks beginning February 26th, 2014. The President and Founder, Vanessa Branson, has selected Amine Kabbaj as Executive Director to oversee direction; Alia Radman as Director and Alya Sebti as Artistic Director. Moreover, we are thrilled to announce that Mr. Andre Azoulay has agreed to continue as Honorary President. We are also proud to announce the new curators for 2014: Hicham Khalidi (visual arts), Bouchra Khalili and Alexandre Kauffmann (cinema and video), Driss Ksikes (literature), Khaled Tamer (performing arts) and Karim el Achak (architecture).

Theme: “Where are we now?”
The fifth edition of Marrakech Biennale will be asking the question “Where are we now?” through a dialogue between five disciplines: visual art, cinema and video, literature, performing art and architecture.

This node will be connected to five to ten selected curated parallel projects widening the elaboration of answers to the theme. Moreover, as a participatory Biennale, fringe projects will pop up throughout in the city during the duration of the Marrakech Biennale.

Starting with a snapshot of the contemporary Marrakech, this Biennale will draw a new mapping with the subjective perspective of Marrakech in the center and from that reveal and analyze the axis of influence through various concentric circles. We believe that now Marrakech is living a key moment in its history as an exceptional crossroad: the red city is deeply rooted in Morocco, the Maghreb and Africa; yet, it is also strongly connected with the Middle East, Europe, Americas and Asia.

The priority of the Biennale is to gather local and national audience with students and art lovers from other parts of the world around this momentum in order to create a cultural and social dialogue elaborating possible answers to the question, Where are we now?

The Build-Up
As we near 2014, lots of exciting things are happening. We are currently in the process of selecting the participants for the upcoming edition and building new partnerships with cultural foundations and residencies, including the City of Marrakech, Conseil Regionale du Tourisme, Dar al-Ma’mun Artist Residency, the British Council, Cervantes, Institut Francais, Goethe Institute, and local universities. Moreover, we have launched our new website and continue to work on improvements to make 2014 a spectacular event. Stay tuned for regular updates and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Potential venues (all in Marrakech):
Theatre Royal, Cyber Park, Koutoubia Cisterns, Dar Cherifa, Riad el-Fenn, Bank el-Meghreb, Denise Masson, Theatre Royal, Cyber Park, Institut Francais, Cinema Colisée, and Dar al-Ma’mun.