4th International Biennial of Casablanca

various venues, Casablanca, Morocco
27 Oct 2018 - 02 Dec 2018

Héla Ammar, Bab B’har (La porte de la mer), 2017. Courtesy the artist.

Héla Ammar, Bab B’har (La porte de la mer), 2017. Courtesy the artist.

The 4th International Biennial of Casablanca led by artistic director Christine Eyene is entitled Tales from Water Margins and will take place from 27 October to 2 December 2018.

The theme is inspired by Ifitry, the biennial’s artists residency located near Essaouira, facing the Atlantic Ocean. The biennial proposes to reflect on Morocco’s geographic position at the crossroad of the Maghrib, sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, and how this translates in the arts. It also examines the country’s historical relationship with the notions of travel and transit, from 14th century traveller Ibn Battuta (1304-c.1368 / 77), one the world’s first geographers, to the current position of Morocco as one of the gateways to, and gatekeepers of, fortress Europe.

The curatorial project builds on prior research and interest in the history and contemporary experiences of insular territories like Reunion Island, ‘pre-Brexit’ Britain and Japan. The title of the biennial draws from encounters with cultures from the Edo era (between 1603 and 1868) in Japan. Among the literature and prints that emerged from this period was Suikōden or Water Margins, an adaptation and illustrations of a 14th century Chinese novel attributed to Shi Nai’an (c.1296-1372) and Luo Guanzhong (c. 1330–1400) chronicling the prowess of outlaws operating from a marsh-edged mountain, fighting against tyranny, and adopting a strategic relation to topography similar to the one later found in Maroon resistance.

Without literally referencing the adapted novel, the biennial borrows one of its translated titles as a metaphor for the current state of spaces that exist at the margin of what is considered cultural mainstreams. In this respect, it also invites to examine interconnections between islands and the power relations at play in their interactions with mainland territories.

Tales from Water Margins will take the form a multidisciplinary ‘laboratory’ encompassing spaces for reflection, creative processes, as well as exhibitions of existing and newly created pieces. The biennial exhibitions are developed in collaboration with the curatorial committee selected by Eyene and composed of Dr. Ethel Brooks, Yasmina Naji, Ema Tavola and Françoise Vergès.

With this 4th edition, the International Biennial of Casablanca ambitions to position itself as an artistic platform both inscribed within its local context and open to the world at large.

Names of artists: Ibrahim Ahmed (Kuweit / Egypt), Yoriyas Yassine Alaoui (Morocco), Héla Ammar (Tunisia), Gilles Aubry (Switzerland / Germany), Margaret Aull (Fiji / New Zealand), Mo Baala (Morocco), Bianca Baldi (South Africa / Belgium), Raphaël Barontini (France), Shiraz Bayjoo (Mauritius / United Kingdom), Cristiano Berti (Italy), Sutapa Biswas (United Kingdom), Rémy Bosquère (France), Abdessamad El Montassir (Morocco / France), Raphaël Faon & Andres Salgado (France / Colombia), Thierry Geoffroy (France / Denmark), Leilani Kake (Cook Islands / New Zealand), M’hammed Kilito (Morocco), Mehdi-Georges Lahlou (France / Morocco), Mohammed Laouli & Katrin Ströbel (Morocco / Germany), Delaine Le Bas (United Kingdom), Mehryl Levisse (France), Julia Mage’au Gray (Australia / New Zealand / Papoua New Guinea), Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai (New Zealand / Tonga), Fatima Mazmouz (Morocco / France), Emo de Medeiros (Bénin / France), Meld & Alexander Schellow (United States/Germany), Gideon Mendel (South Africa/United Kingdom), Yvon Ngassam (Cameroon), Amine Oulmakki (Morocco), Yohann Queland de Saint-Pern (France-Reunion Island), Anna Raimondo (Italiy / Belgium), Saïd Raïs (Morocco), Ben Saint-Maxent (France), Magda Stawarska-Beavan & Joshua Horsley (Poland/United Kingdom), Oussama Tabti (Algeria / France), Youssef Tabti (France / Germany), Vaimaila Urale (New Zealand / Samoa), Filip Van Dingenen (Belgium) and Haythem Zakaria (Tunisia / France).

Led by artistic director Christine Eyene, the 2018 edition will consist of exhibitions of existing and newly commissioned art works, to more extended research-based projects with artists Delaine Le Bas (United Kingdom), Yvon Ngassam (Cameroon), Yohann Queland de Saint-Pern (France-Reunion Island) and Youssef Tabti (France/Germany).

In addition to the listed artists will be two exhibitions individually curated by Yasmina Naji, founder of Kulte Gallery and Editions (Rabat), and a project by Ema Tavola with artists Margaret Aull (Fiji/New Zealand), Leilani Kake (Cook Islands/New Zealand), Julia Mage’au Gray (Australia/New Zealand/Papua New Guinea), Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai (New Zealand/Tonga) and Vaimaila Urale (New Zealand/Samoa). Ema Tavola’s exhibition is generously supported by Creative New Zealand.

A collaboration is also being developed with Centre culturel Les Étoiles de Sidi Moumen, a cultural centre dedicated to providing young people from Sidi Moumen area with opportunities to develop their creativity through training in performing arts and more.

The 4th International Biennial of Casablanca will take place from 27 October to 2 December 2018. The venues include Villa des Arts de Casablanca, La Coupole, École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca, Instituto Cervantes, San Buenaventura Church, and more to be confirmed, including a number of interventions in the public space.

For the first time the biennial will be accompanied with a bilingual (French-English) catalogue.

The press conference and preview will take place on Friday 26 October 2018. The professional days will run from 26 to 29 October 2018 with performances, artists’ talks and round tables hosted in collaboration with École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca, Musée Abderrahman Slaoui and Institut Français de Casablanca.

The 4th International Biennial of Casablanca is organised by Fondation Maroc Premium and supported by Résidence Ifitry, Centre d’Art Contemporain d’Essaouira, Making Histories Visible / University of Central Lancashire, Creative New Zealand, Institut Français de Casablanca, Instituto Cervantes and Fondation ONA.

For further information visit the website or contact the biennial office at info@biennalecasablanca.ma.