By Nii B. Andrews.
The world’s largest CAA Fair, the 1-54, which counts Marrakech as one of its venues has started rallying its network of galleries, artists, art patrons and institutions in a decisive effort to help the survivors of the recent devastating earthquake and also assist in long term reconstruction.
The death toll from last week’s 6.8 magnitude earthquake that affected Morocco has reached around 3, 000 and more than 5, 000 people have been injured.
Tragically, most of the devastation occurred in remote mountain communities to the south of Marrakech, along the Atlas Mountain range.
A few locations within the Marrakech medina, a UNESCO heritage site suffered damage.
Touria El Glaoui, the Founding Director of 1-54, confirmed in a somber mood to Art Newspaper “We’re thankful to be able to say that, having spoken to our galleries, artists and partners across the cultural scene and hospitality sector, everyone is safe”, while also bemoaning the extensive loss of life and property in the countryside.
******MOUNTAIN, Amine El Gotaibi, 2021.*******
The 1- 54 group is thus immediately poised to raise funds through the production and sale of limited edition prints with the proceeds being donated to organisations engaged in ongoing disaster relief efforts.
In order to support longer term reconstruction efforts, 1-54 is already engaging with its partners: Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), the Montresso Art Foundation, the exhibition space Dada Marrakech, Musée Yves Saint Laurent and the artist residency space Al Maqam.
The modern part of Marrakech remained unscathed and has already opened for business while providing support for the relief efforts in the countryside.
“We urge tourists to not be deterred from visiting Morocco and experiencing its vibrant and diverse cultural scene as this will be crucial to the country’s economic recovery,” said 1-54 in a statement. “Although the impact of the earthquake has been devastating, relief and reconstruction efforts are under way and much of Marrakech is thankfully still standing.”
The optimism with respect to rebuilding and recovery will be emphasised by this year’s courtyard commission at the 1-54 London October 2023 edition.
******DRY RIVER – BLACK HOLE, Amine El Gotaibi, 2011******
It will feature an installation by the Marrakech-based artist Amine El Gotaibi in collaboration with MCC Gallery in Marrakech entitled, ILLUMINATE THE LIGHT.
The artist explores the concept of light in relation to the African continent.
El Gotaibi presents twelve individual geometric sculptures inspired by the seeds of a fruit loaded with symbolism – the pomegranate – that vary widely in shape and color, to represent the diversity and abundance of the African continent.
By harnessing light as a solid medium within the sculptures, El Gotaibi utilizes it as a metaphor to engender a narrative that counters the warped and ill informed designation of Africa as the ‘dark continent’.
At dusk, the sculptures transform into luminous installations, thus positing a rhetorical device and perspective that ‘out of darkness, light emerges’.
“It is befitting that this bright and hopeful installation will sit at the heart of our London 2023 fair,” El Glaoui remarked.
1-54 eagerly anticipates a return to Marrakech in February 2024 and that our collective energies and endeavors will at this crucial time uplift the historic city.