Forword to a book about the Casablanca Art School: Documents, medium, editing


Friday 15 November 2019, 7 – 9 pm
musée YVES SAINT LAURENT marrakech

On the occasion of their exhibitions New Waves : Mohamed Melehi and the Casablanca Art School Archives and Jacques Azéma, une Aventure Poétique, the Museum of Africain Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) and the musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (mYSLm) are pleased to invite you to the talk “Forword to a book about the Casablanca Art School: documents, medium and editing” that they are organizing on Friday 15 November in the presence of Morad Montazami.(editor, curator of New Waves), Maud Houssais (researcher and independent curator) and Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa (independent curator). It will be followed by the screening of an unpublished documentary about the artist Mohamed Melehi.

Mohamed Melehi, photographie d’une droguerie, années 1960.

This meeting will gather three protagonists of a book being prepared by Zamân Books about the Casablanca Art School. Already supported by the French National Centre for Fine Arts, this book (published by Zamân Books in March 2020), aims to document and analyse, thanks to an unprecedented collective research, the activities and heritage of this artists’ collective gathered around the Casablanca School of Fine Arts from the 1960s onwards. One of the aims of this research was to understand the importance of this collective (deeply linked to both Marrakech and Casablanca) in the history of postcolonial art, while at the same time studying the visual tools, pedagogical devices and utopian counter-spaces that were theirs.

First, Morad Montazami (editor) will present Mohamed Melehi’s photographic archives concerning his period of activity within the school and beyond, in order to consider the different functions of photography in a collective process. Then, the two book’s co-directors will invite us to a deeper dive through the exhibitions, reviews and other devices of the group and its various actors. Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa will propose a reflection on the framework of thought and the cultural and material sources that have contributed to the creation of the magazine Maghreb Art and Maud Houssais will discuss the stakes of taking a stand in the public space and collaborations between artists and architects for an “integrated” art.

About the panelists

Maud Houssais is a researcher and independent curator. Her research is concerned with the modalities of setting up an alternative art scene in Morocco, from the 1960s, with a particular focus on discourses and artistic practices in the public space. In 2017, she co-curated the research on the project bauhaus imaginista, directed by Marion von Osten and Grant Watson. Her essays appeared in various publications and journals such as Zamân (textes, images et documents), the online platform Afrique in Visu, and in the catalog of the Biennale of Bamako Telling Time (2016). She has participated in the elaboration of numerous artistic projects with different artistic structures such as the MACBA (Barcelona), the Biennale du Bénin (Cotonou) or the Cube – Independent art space (Rabat).

Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa is an independent curator. In 2019, she was in charge of the exhibition Belkahia contemporain (Artorium, Casablanca, 20 June – 20 August 2019). As head of cultural programming at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat (2014 and 2018), she curated the exhibition Ahmed Cherkaoui, Entre modernité et enracinement (Musée Mohammed VI – Rabat, 27 April – 27 August 2018). In 2016, she collaborated, as associate curator, for the exhibition L’École des beaux-arts de Casablanca: Belkahia, Chabâa, Melehi, la fabrique de l’art et de l’histoire in the framework of Marrakech’s sixth biennale (February – May 2016). Her research bears on the constitution modalities of art history in Morocco during the sixties and seventies.

Morad Montazami is an art historian and curator. His research explores Arab, African, and Asian modernisms in the context of the Zamân Books & Curating platform, of which he is founder and which includes contributors such as Madeleine de Colnet, with whom he designed the New Waves exhibition. He has published essays notably on Farid Belkahia, Bahman Mohassess, Hamed Abdalla, Zineb Sedira, and Latif Al Ani, among others. He has curated the exhibitions ARABÉCÉDAIRE Hamed Abdalla, and Behjat Sadr: Dusted Waters at The Mosaic Rooms (2018), Bagdad Mon Amour at the Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris (2018), Fugitive Volumes: Faouzi Laatiris and the INBA Tetouan at the Musée Mohammed VI d’art moderne et contemporain, Rabat (2016), and co-curated the exhibition Unedited History: Iran 1960-2014 at the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris and MAXXI, Rome (2014-2015).