Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fès Festival Fringe - In Transit

Moroccan Bling wrist cuff with photo by Jess Stephens

Running parallel to the Sacred Music Festival are many other cultural events that are worth seeking out between concerts. Jess Stephens of Culture Vultures has reprised her successful pop-up shop scheme from last year, but this year is taking it to a whole new level. Vanessa Bonnin reports for The View from Fez.

In Transit is the name of her new temporary venture, and it has morphed into a gallery with an exhibition of works created by artists from all over the globe, as far away as New York and as local as Fes. The diverse range of work comes together under the influence of Morocco, either culturally, aesthetically or in its rich resource of materials.

“It’s developed into a pop-up arts centre that’s trying to make as much cultural noise as possible,” Jess Stephens told The View From Fez. “Which means inviting musicians to come and play, there’ll be artist talks, henna sessions, even a magician. It’s much more than a static gallery or shop.” “The visual arts are a fringe aspect of the festival, but they enhance the programme,” she added.

“Of course the festival organizers focus is the music, so it’s up to the individual artists to push the local, cultural side. This location creates a dialogue with medina people as it’s on the street, rather than standard galleries, which can be a bit elitist and removed from the average person. “

Jess Stephens
On display are works by:Noureddine Daifallah – calligrapher from MarrakechMargaret Lanzanetta – painter from New York, based in Fes
David Packer – sculptor and photographer from England, based in Fes
Nourredine Chater – artist from Marrakech
Jess Stephens – artist from England, based in SefrouPlus the latest jewellery and accessories collection from Jess Stephens' label 'Moroccan Bling'.
“This latest collection is influenced by rag rugs and shihkat dancers from the Middle Atlas Mountains and principally uses cloth and leather,” Stephens explained. “Every piece is hand-made and one-of-a-kind.”

In Transit runs until June 18th and is open from 10am until 8pm. Much of the “cultural noise” will take place between the end of the afternoon concerts at Batha Museum and the beginning of the evening shows at Bab Al Makina.

Jess Stephens shows her wares to Kristal Passy and Francine Demeulenaere
Moroccan Bling necklace with works by Margaret Lanzanetta and Noureddine Daifallah

To find the pop up gallery head down Talla K’bira, past Madrassa Bounaniya, under the tunnel after half a dozen shop units on your left you will find a small space with much inspiration.


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