What is MACAAL and what do they do?
The Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) Marrakech is an independent, not-for-profit contemporary art museum. One of the first of its kind on the continent, MACAAL is dedicated to the promotion of African art through its diverse exhibition and education programmes, cultivating the interest of a wide audience base. The museum nurtures an understanding of contemporary art from Africa through collecting and exhibiting established and emerging artists, highlighting the creative energy and cultural diversity found across the continent.
With a soft opening in 2016, MACAAL collaborated closely with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 22) on the first exhibition. The museum had its international launch in February 2018.
MACAAL showcases art from Morocco and the rest of the continent in a wide range of media. While maintaining respect for local audiences and cultural sensitivities, there are no restrictions on what can be shown at the museum. In addition to the permanent collection, exhibitions will focus on art which engages in a dialogue with the continent, including African and international artists.
His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, has a long history of nurturing the modern and contemporary Moroccan art scene by supporting African artists through developing initiatives and art events across the country such as The Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMVI) opened in 2014 in Rabat and is the first Moroccan public museum. MMVI and MACAAL add to Morocco’s positioning as a dynamic hub for the visual arts.
MACAAL is a philanthropic initiative by Moroccan art collectors Alami Lazraq and his son Othman Lazraq. It forms part of Fondation Alliances, a not-for-profit association which focuses on supporting cultural development in Morocco. Motivated by a passion for the arts and under the directorship of Othman, MACAAL brings the Lazraq family’s private collection of modern and contemporary African art, amassed over the past 40 years, to a wider audience.
Created in 2009, Fondation Alliances is a non-profit association backed by Alliances Group, a leading integrated real estate group in Morocco, whose vocation is to provide support in Morocco through concrete social and cultural action. The Foundation advocates for the idea of art accessible to all, by developing significant cultural mediation in favour of all social backgrounds, thus acting to create awareness of contemporary Moroccan and African art through a rigorous approach.
Beyond MACAAL, Fondation Alliances has set up five other not-for-profit initiatives:
– The Al Maaden Sculpture Park: inaugurated in September 2013, Al Maaden Sculpture Park incorporates monumental sculptures by Moroccan and international artists, exclusively created for Al Maaden’s site in Marrakech.
– The Lcc Program (formally La Chambre Claire), launched in 2013, is an annual award supporting contemporary photography through the promotion and exhibition of an emerging artist.
– Programme Passerelles (trans. bridges) encourages engagement with local young people through workshops and classes on contemporary art alongside museum visits. The programme acts as a bridge between local audiences and the wider cultural sphere.
– The MACAAL Residence: a programme of residency, research and production, inaugurated in 2019.
– MACAAL Bootcamp is an intensive four-day program which supports young art world professionals through mentorship with leaders in their field such as Koyo Kouoh and Touria El Glaoui as well as through a series of workshops and masterclasses on core skills.
What are some of MAACAL’s defining projects?
The first exhibition at the end of November 2016, Essentiel Paysage, brought together a selection of modern and contemporary African artists, some of whom relay through their art the interdependence of humans, animals and plants. Others provide a critical perspective on the utilisation of natural resources in Africa and denounce their harmful effects. The exhibition was curated by Brahim Alaoui and the works came from both the Lazraq collection and through loans. MACAAL collaborated closely with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 22) on the first exhibition.
MACAAL’s second exhibition in March 2017, E-Mois, explored the history and development of the museum’s collection as well as how the artworks co-exist with each other. The exhibition began with major figures of modern Moroccan art including Farid Belkahia, Ahmed Cherkaoui, Jilali Gharbaoui, and Mohammed Melehi, continuing through figurative paintings by Saad Ben Cheffaj, Hassan El Glaoui, and Mohamed Fquih Regragui, and then ended with contemporary abstract artworks by Omar Bouragba, Saad Hassani and Najia Mehadji.
How many exhibitions are there a year?
Each year, MACAAL has one temporary exhibition presented by a guest curator which accompanies that of the Museum’s permanent collection. Temporary exhibitions often consist of new commissions and curatorial projects that invite artists to immerse themselves in the context of the Museum in a dynamic way.
The Museum organizes between two and three exhibitions a year.
MACAAL opened in 2016 with a first exhibition in connection with the 22nd United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 22), Essentiel Paysage (Essential Landscape). This was followed by a second exhibition focusing on the Museum’s collection, E-Mois, Autobiographie d’une collection (Autobiography of a Collection).
In February 2018, the international opening featured two exhibitions: a group photography show, Africa Is No Island, and Second Life, an exhibition comprised of the Fondation Alliances’ collection and commissioned artworks. In September 2018, MACAAL presented Esoteric Writings, an exhibition bringing together nearly thirty artists with as many visual and sound expressions, each inspired by the culture of origin of its creator.
In February 2019, Material Insanity gathered more than 30 artists from the continent and its diaspora to explore the material and its symbolic significance in a plurality of dimensions and formal experiences. In September of the same year two exhibitions were showcased: New Waves: Mohamed Melehi and the Casablanca Art School Archives which retraces the period in the artist’s career from the 1950’s to the 1980’s through the exploration of previously unseen works and archives ; and Welcome Home, featuring the Museum’s new acquisitions.
MACAAL’s current exhibition, HAVE YOU SEEN A HORIZON LATELY?, opened in February 2020. Taking its title from a song by Yoko Ono, the exhibition explores the politics of space and place and is an invitation to see and know the world differently. It features work from a selection of emerging and established international artists including Yoko Ono (USA), Kapwani Kiwanga (Canada-France), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria) and Amina Benbouchta (Morocco).
Where does funding come from?
MACAAL is independently funded by the Alliances Group as well as the Lazraq family.
Is MACAAL connected to the government of Morocco?
No, we are an independent cultural organisation.
How can I hear updates on MACAAL’s activities and forthcoming exhibitions?
Is MACAAL free to visit?
Entry is 6.5 euros for adults (3.50€ for residents of Morocco and African nationalities) and free for children under 12 and students. Also free for the Press and cultural professionals upon presentation of a proof of eligibility.
How do I schedule a school or group tour?
We welcome visitors of all ages and levels of expertise, from young art enthusiasts to specialists and academics. If you would like to organise a group guided tour, please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +212 676 92 44 92.
Is MACAAL accessible to visitors with disabilities and special needs?
MACAAL is fully wheelchair accessible. Please reach the Museum if you have any questions or special requirements on +212 676 92 44 92 or via email@example.com.
How do I get to MACAAL?
MACAAL is located at Al Maaden, Sidi Youssef Ben Ali, 40000 Marrakech.
Possibility to get there by car or taxi.
What does the collection cover?
The collection focuses on works by leading artists from Morocco and the rest of the continent in a wide range of media. The collection includes a variety of media such as digital art, painting, sculpture and video.
What are the key works included in the collection displays?
2,000 Moroccan and international works make up the collection, including some of Morocco’s most established artists such as Farid Belkahia, Ahmed Cherkaoui, Mounir Fatmi, Jilali Gharbaoui and Chaïbia Talal. More recently MACAAL has acquired works by artists from the continent such as Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Maïmouna Guerresi, Chéri Samba, Romuald Hazoumè, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Serge Attukwei Clottey, and Malick Sidibé, as well as artists from the wider Maghreb art scene such as Meriem Bouderbala, Rafik El Kamel, Moataz Nasr, Adel El Siwi and Djamel Tatah.
How are works acquired for the collection, who selects them and what is the process?
A strong passion for the arts led Alami Lazraq to collect modern and contemporary art from Morocco and the continent. The museum is proud to champion artists they feel strongly deserve both local, regional and international recognition.
Othman Lazraq and the museum team work closely together on creating a balanced collection in conjunction with external counsel whilst exploring new territories. MACAAL keeps acquiring and commissioning new works for the Museum.
What does MACAAL’s education program involve and what are its aims?
At MACAAL we are committed to ensuring the engagement of the Moroccan public through our exhibition programme and cultivating the interest of the younger generation through our education initiatives. In this vein, we have created MACAAL LAB within which we work with local schools and universities in order for students to experience the museum and learn through artist workshops, talks and screenings. The education programme engages with diverse audiences.
What are the education plans for the future?
We are working to expand the MACAAL Lab programme further.
A workshop with Moroccan artist Youness Atbane and the School of Visual Arts in Marrakech (ESAV) has been organised with the MACAAL Lab. Similarly, other projects will be held at the MACAAL Lab that revolve around African masks, listening sessions with sound art and photography techniques.
Titled Dialogue with Life, a workshop with Moroccan artist Mo Baala for children from the Marrakech-based Benabdallah school took place in December 2017. This is a model that we will continue to replicate.
What is the history of the building?
MACAAL’s building is designed by French architect Didier Lefort. The Museum worked with the renowned French architect Jean-François Bodin (who worked on the Picasso Museum in Paris and Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar) and the French-Moroccan architecture firm LAZRAQBRET to make it into a Museum.
The Museum exhibition space is 900 square meters and the garden area is 1 040 square meters.
Who is supervising MACAAL ?
The MACAAL Museum was initiated and still supervised by the Fondation Alliances.
FONDATION ALLIANCES team involved in the MACAAL:
Director: Othman LAZRAQ
Head of Cultural Projects: Meriem BERRADA
Project Manager: Dounia BEUTHNER
Project Manager: Louise PRZYBYLSKI
Collection Manager: Fatma EL OUFIR
Technical Manager: Noureddine JAAIDANE
President: Othman LAZRAQ
Artistic Director: Meriem BERRADA
Exhibition Director: Janine Gaëlle DIEUDJI
Gallery Educator: Yassir YARJI
Head of the Commercial Department of MACAAL (Shop & Café): Mouna LAZRAQ
Sales and Event Planning Manager: Hanaa EL MRABET
Commercial Assistant: Hamza YAOUMI