By Damali and Nii B. Andrews.
The art world descended on Marrakech for the prestigious 1-54 art fair this past weekend. It was the African debut for the fair.
So, on Saturday evening, the Ochre City seized the opportunity to formally open its lavish brand new Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) to an international audience.
An earlier local launch had occurred during COP22 in 2016.
The MACAAL is an independent, not for profit contemporary art museum. It aims to collect and exhibit both established and emerging artists throughout the continent.
On the opening night immediately after the VIP program, over a thousand visitors thronged the MACAAL to view the photography exhibition, “AFRICA IS NO ISLAND”; it was located on the ground floor.
Forty emerging and established photographers were showcased.
Their work examined through a distinctly African perspective, the universally relevant themes of tradition, spirituality, the environment and family.
There were 3 sections to this impressive photography exhibition; I am my own representation, Drawing borders and Transcribing History.
We plan to address these sections fully in subsequent posts.
On the first floor was another exhibition, SECOND LIFE.
This is an exhibition of works drawn primarily from the MACAAL’s permanent collection in addition to loaned and newly commissioned pieces.
The exhibits highlighted the creation by the artists of new forms through transformative methods – by reusing/ recycling materials thus emphasizing art’s transformative power through symbolic acts.
Ahmed Chiha, a soft spoken master gardener and self-taught artist showed his bamboo pieces that had been reanimated into a colorful and striking presence.
His profession had indeed provided him with an artistic narrative.
Interestingly, Chiha’s work shared the same space with “Old Towel”- a sculpture by the Ghanaian maestro, El Anatsui.
Both exhibitions will run until August 24 2018.
The international launch of the MACAAL was simply phenomenal – a tremendous credit to the Lazraq family and the staff.
Long live the MACAAL!!