The Marrakech Biennale is biennale of contemporary international culture. On the 29th of February of 2012, Marrakech Biennale launches its fourth edition, Free Thinking Surrender, featuring key figures in literature, film and visual arts. The festival runs until the 4th of March, with public screenings, talks, performances and debates at venues around the city.
Alan Yentob, creative director of the BBC, returns this year as the organizer of the film program, and Omar Berrada with Elizabeth Sheinkman will organize the literature events.
|Carson Chan and Nadim Samman|
|the Théâtre Royal - Photos by Alia Radman|
Co-curator Carson Chan notes: "While trying to curate an exhibition that could become part of a contemporary Moroccan cultural identity, we can also challenge the received methods of biennale making that is routinely practiced elsewhere. Do we have to show art? Why not commission a novel, a symphony, an album or a prayer?"
|the Koutoubia cisterns|
Past participants have included Francis Alys, Yto Barrada, John Boorman, Richard E. Grant, Edmond El Maleh, Tracy Emin, Pieter Hugo, Isaac Julien, Abdellah Karroum, Joseph Kosuth, Julien Schnabel, Zadie Smith, Abdellah Taia.
In 2004 with the rise of global tensions, Vanessa Branson envisioned a cultural festival that would address social issues through the arts, using them as a vehicle for debate and discussion and to build bridges between diverse ideologies. Marrakech Biennale would become a celebration of creativity in a city that has been the focus of artistic exploration for centuries but with limited emphasis on contemporary art.
Beginning in 2005, as a gathering of arts enthusiasts who organised literary events and exhibitions. Marrakech Biennale has grown to become an internationally recognised biennale with a thriving visual arts, film and literature programme. The festival’s role has evolved along with the climate of the times. With today’s events in North Africa, the organisation’s goals could not be more pertinent for the cultural identity of the region. This festival aims to show the outside world that Morocco is an open society that encourages freedom of expression and debate, as well as sponsoring significant and lasting benefits for the area and its inhabitants, socially, economically and culturally.
The Biennale and the British Council
As a leader in the educational and cultural field, the British Council Morocco is one of the major partners of the festival. The British Council is working with the Biennale on an internship programme for students at the Faculty of Letters of University Cadi Ayyad.
Marrakech Biennale and the British Council have created for this edition of the Biennale an internship programme for students in English and French departments at Cadi Ayyad University. The aim is to create intercultural links and exchange between the students and the artists of the Biennale.
During the long period when the Biennale artists have been preparing and creating their work, each artist have each been teamed up with a student-intern who has acted as host for the city as well as in some case, assistants in the actual work of the artist.
The professors of Cadi Ayyad University have supported the students to take the internship one step further, by encouraging them to base their term paper on the Biennale as a way to intellectually process this experience.
The aim of the Internship was to create intercultural exchange through a mutually beneficial internship. A diploma will be issued to the students that have shown dedication to the internship programme and given some of their time to the preparation of the Marrakech Biennale.
Also, a series of arts workshops will pair up to 8 participating artists with 150 girls from a local dorm in a collaborative style to create a dynamic art installation piece to be put on display during the festival.
For more information visit the Biennale Website