Shining a Light on Five Contemporary Moroccan Artists.

hassanhajjaj

Contemporary Morocco is currently being celebrated in Paris in a remarkable exhibition entitled “Le Maroc Contemporain,” at the Institut du Monde Arabe.  

This is the perfect opportunity to shine a light on this little-known aspect of Morocco.

Information

Exhibition "Le Maroc Contemporain" until January 25, 2015 For the IMA website, click HERE For the webdoc #IMAROC”, click HERE

 

Four of the artists we feature below are showcased in the IMA exhibition.

 

Hassan Hajjaj

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Hassan Hajjaj

The first artist we wanted to talk about is not among the artists currently being exhibited in Paris, but he is worth knowing and is, in fact, already well known on the international scene.

Hassan Hajjaj is a Moroccan stylist and photographer based in London. He takes inspiration from both from East and West, from pop European and traditional African cultures. He is a prolific artist using various media to express his art : furniture, fashion, interior design, record-album covers.  ArtNet sees in him the next David LaChapelle.

What makes Hajjaj so interesting is his use of bright colours and of traditional Moroccan figures like snake charmers, henna girls, male belly dancers, and bad boys, mixed with a consumerist imagery featuring brands like Nike, Coca Cola and Vuitton, somewhat “à la Warhol”.

Considering the Warholesque pattern framing Hajjaj’s pictures, the American artist must be a strong source of inspiration. Hajjaj has a boutique/tea-room, the Riad Yima, in Marrakech.

 

Mounir Fatmi

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Modern Times

On our home page you will find a video about Mounir Fatmi to give you a first taste of the contemporary artistic scene in Morocco.

Born in Tanger in 1970, Mounir Fatmi takes his inspiration from politics and religion. His works are often controversial, as he wants to initiate a debate on the freedom of speech. Fatmi “deals with the desecration of religious object, deconstruction and the end of dogmas and ideologies, [with a particular interest in the] death of the subject of consumption.” In the past, this interest has led to occasional censorship of his work, although Fatmi has found an international audience through the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Using technology and various media, Fatmi orchestrates a meeting between the Eastern and Western worlds. The video we chose to post on the blog is entitled “Modern Times: A History of Machines”. Drawing a parallel with the iconic Charlie Chaplin movie, the artist confronts the issue of ill-considered urban development in the Middle East, where cities have been created out of the desert without cohesive urbanization plans. Reflecting on their impact on the community, he says, “It displays a fraught relationship to architecture, addressing the dystopic effects of the modernist experiment or arrogant contemporary displays of power and economic might.”

Website 

 

Noureddine Daifallah

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Nouredine Daifallah

Nourredine Daifallah is a calligraphy artist. Born in Marrakech, he continues to work there as a teacher of fine arts. Daifallah is inspired by the classic Arabic tradition, but injects into his art elements that point it in new directions. The readability of the letters is not what counts for him. Instead he chooses to focus on the aesthetics and the movement of the lines.

Some of his works have been acquired by the Guggenheim museum. He is represented by the Majlis Gallery.

 

Leila Alaoui

Leila Alaoui les Marocains Souk de Boulia Moyen Atlas 2011

Souk de Boumia, Moyen Atlas 2011, Leila Alaoui

Leila Alaoui is a young French-Moroccan multimedia artist whose works deal with migration and cultural identity.

Her series, entitled “The Moroccans”, lets the world discover the rich cultural diversity of her native country.

Alaoui’s approach, inspired by Richard Avedon’s “In the American West”, sets aside the exotic/oriental flavour we might expect, using instead a sleek and bare format. Showcasing her subjects against a black background, Alaoui highlights the sheer beauty of her people.

Website

 

Nouredine Amir

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Nouredine Amir

This artist uses the garment as his medium of expression. Working primarily for theatre and cinema productions, Amir creates fascinating sculptures. He favours raw materials like raffia or felt. His works have been exhibited in museums, in Amsterdam and Antwerp.

Website

 

 

If you are interested in discovering further contemporary Moroccan artists, we highly recommend the exhibition at the IMA that is on until the 25th of January. You can book ahead on IMA’s website.

On the website you will find an interactive document (Webdoc #IMAROC) that introduces other artists exhibited in the show. Be forewarned that the website is in French.


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