Sharing food and watching visual images accompanied by music, in a beautiful riad in the Fez Medina, is an inviting way to spend a Sunday evening. It's happening on April 6, when Slideluck is held at ALIF Riad.Members of the public are invited to contribute a plate of food and share a meal at 6 PM, then watch and listen to slideshows from 14 local photographers starting at 7.30 PM. (The time has been moved back to take account of daylight saving.)
"The idea is to bring together diverse groups of people, artwork, food, ideas and perspectives under one roof - with the aim of creating a unique and magical event," says organiser and Peace Corps worker Amoy Barnes, who has arranged the event with the help of photographer Omar Chennafi and sponsorship from the American Language Center.
Slideluck has been held in more than 75 cities around the world. It is run by a non profit organisation which is dedicated to building and strengthening community through food and art. Founder and photographer Casey Kelbaugh will be there on Sunday, having especially flown in from New York for the event.
The images on show range from the creative and colourful to the thought provoking, moving and, occasionally, challenging ones. The photographers include young people from the Dar Chabab (youth centre) where Slideluck organiser and Peace Corps worker Amoy Barnes has been helping them to discover their creative potential through the use of disposable cameras, as well as professional photographers such as Scarlett Coten and artists like Cristina Torres.
Photojournalist and manager of Dar Roumana, Vanessa Bonnin, is sharing her personal story through a series of arresting black and white photographs.
"My project 'Happily Ever After' examines the relationship between myself and my husband and originally asked the question "what happens when two people live in close proximity but are very far apart emotionally?", Vanessa says. "Since starting the project three years ago, I have followed our progress and set backs and used the photographs to express visually what is hard to put into words. I started it as a form of therapy and did not intend for it to be public, but I think for art to have an effect it has to be personal, so I've decided to share this work now that our relationship has moved past a really difficult phase. The name of the project is a comment on how being brought up on the fairy tale concept of a prince meeting a princess, marrying her and then living happily ever after sets us up with unrealistic expectations of marriage - the story doesn't end there, it goes on through struggles and unexpected issues and it's really hard work to make a marriage last.
|Photographer Vanessa with her husband Vincent Bonnin|
"I decided to use Slideluck as a means for showing this project for the first time because it feels less formal than a printed exhibition. I'm nervous about showing such personal material so I feel more comfortable that the images will be fleeting! Also, being set to music of my choice I was able to create an atmosphere that invites the audience to share my journey and be brought into the moment collectively. I think this way it is a more emotional experience, like an audience at a cinema, you feel part of something when you all react at the same time.
"I think Slideluck is a fantastic concept as it allows artists to test their work publicly, see how people react and use that feedback to improve. Also combining art with food makes it feel more relaxed and sociable, giving all participants a chance to meet and mingle beforehand. I have really enjoyed the process so far - editing my work for a Moroccan audience was an interesting undertaking as many of my images are too raw to be suitable. I am looking forward to baring a little piece of my soul to others, it will be another step in the journey towards honesty and I hope by being so open I help people to reflect upon themselves and their own relationships."
When: Sunday April 6 at 6 PM Pot-luck meal, 7.30 PM Slideshow
Where: ALIF Riad, 6 Derb Drissi, Fez. 0535624850. If you don't know the way, meet at 5.45 PM at the Batha Fountain
Cost: Bring a plate of food to share, or a bottle of soft-drink