The sixth Marrakech Biennale boasts a strong platform of publicly accessible works


The Marrakech Biennale opened to the public on February 24, and received widespread acclaim during opening week. As one of North Africa’s most important and preeminent biennials, the sixth edition of the event has drawn praise for its efforts to transcend cultural attitudes towards newness and open up the event to new audiences.

Curated by Reem Fadda, NOT NEW NOW includes many enchanting installations and site-specific projects, such as Dineo Seshee Bopape’s Azania, an immersive representation of South African liberation made from used coat hangers, wooden spoons and soil taken from different embassies across Africa.

A new video installation by Danish collective SUPERFLEX, Kwassa Kwassa, was also commissioned as part of the biennial. The work metaphorically replaces the mythological figures of Europa and Zeus in the context of contemporary migrant voyages at sea.

Other socially aware works include Eric Van Horne’s Caterpillar, a remade engine of the Caterpillar Tractor D9 bulldozer model used to kill American activist Rachel Corrie as she was protesting the razing of a Palestinian home in 2003.

Time is Measured by Distance, a new installation by Saba Innab, has also been popular among attendees. Monumental in scale, the gigantic concrete work emulates the negative space of the Strait of Gibraltar, the narrow passage that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Europe from Africa.

Also of particular note is a massive gravity defying sculpture by Fatiha Zemmouri. Entitled Sheltered from Nothing, the levitated mass of rock evokes an omnipresent sense of impending doom, inviting passersby to walk underneath.

All told, the success of the sixth Marrakech Biennale is testament to its strong platform of publicly accessible works. The event takes place across five historical locations in the medina of Marrakech: Koutoubia Mosque, Palais Badii, Palais Bahia, Dar Si Said and Menara Pavilion.

The Marrakech Biennale continues until May 8

A version of this article appeared in print in Selections, The One – on – One Issue #35, on page 23.