Between Now and Then. The Moroccan Wave
Amina Agueznay, Yasmina Alaoui, Badr El Hammami, Mohssin Harraki, Khadija Jayi, Fatiha Zemmouri
curated by Silvia Cirelli
Opening Wednesday, November 16th, 2022
on view until January 21st, 2023
From November 16th through December 22nd 2022, the Galleria Anna Marra in Rome will host a collective exhibition entitled BETWEEN NOW AND THEN. The Moroccan Wave, curated by Silvia Cirelli, entirely dedicated to the multi-facetted artistic panorama of Morocco, a lively and dynamic stage characterised by expressive versatility which has significant resonance.
Amina Agueznay, Yasmina Alaoui, Badr El Hammami, Mohssin Harraki, Khadija Jayi and Fatiha Zemmouri – some of which will be presented in Italy for the very first time – are the talented and varied interpreters of this project.
Outstanding not only for their mature aesthetic research their names are already well known internationally: Amina Agueznay is currently among the artists at the prestigious Lyon Biennial; in 2018 Yasmina Alaoui received the “Award for Cultural Diversity” at the Dakar Biennial; Mohssin Harraki is among the protagonists of the Lagos Biennial 2021>2023 and he was included among the artists in the exhibition “Moroccan Trilogy” at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, as was Badr El Hammami; Khadija Jayi was exhibited at the MMVI, the Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporain in Rabat in 2021, while Fatiha Zemmouri was recently exhibited at both the Thalie Fondation in Bruxelles and at l’Institut des Cultures d’Islam in Paris.
Far from being an attempt to define a general specificity, much less one which is geographic, this show does not circumscribe the aesthetic dimension of contemporary Moroccan art, but rather valourises differences in linguistic approach and stylistic grammar. Outside facile cultural rhetoric, it seeks to offer an opening to reflect on local artistic research, consolidating untried ways of interpreting and exalting multi-disciplinarity: as demonstrated by the several languages used by these artists. The curatorial choice of not impeding the versatility of these different expressions under a single theme, must thus be read as a choice to distance ourselves from erroneous ghettoizations or useless stereotypes.
The exhibition’s title BETWEEN NOW AND THEN, was adopted to show that the artists presented are, both particularly distinctive of the current artistic climate of the Maghreb, but who also represent its tomorrow. Their narration invites us to experience the numerous cultural and aesthetic universes that inhabit this polyhedric panorama, underlining the relationship between art and contemporary society, and concentrating on socio-cultural, identity and geopolitical issues, each of connate and necessary interest.
The works of Amina Agueznay presented in Rome integrate her handcraft abilities and a particular attention to a concept of space, intended and explored as an emotional place, a sensorial experience to be shared. Wool, cotton and organic materials in general, predominate in her stylistic code and emphasise not only the importance of the creative process but also the value of art as a receptacle of cultural memory.
This is followed by the aesthetic reflections of Yasmina Alaoui, whose compositions, done with salt, sand, gravel or acrylic materials, lean toward a grammatical eclecticism that exalts the poetic dimension of existence. In a visionary narration that moves between the visible and the non-visible, the artist examines the vulnerability of human beings, exploring the limits between figurative and abstract, between past and present, between chaos and order.
The exhibition continues with Badr El Hammami, a polyhedric artist who constantly confronts contingent themes, such as identity, multiculturality and the ambiguities of power and violence dynamics. His artistic itinerary has always been a mix of personal ingredients and the real world testimonies, tracing important passages of contemporary history by using a language which is at the same time pungent and incisive.
Mohssin Harraki, a surprisingly versatile artist whose media vary from photography and drawing to installations, concentrates his research on the delicate equilibria among writing, reading and imagination. By transferring his expressive investigation to migratory imagination, very common in the history of his country, Harraki looks at the complexity of the narrative elements, such as identity and social fragmentation.
The young and very talented Khadija Jayi offers an artistic approach with a strong material approach, in which fire serves as the central element: fire as a destructive power, that consumes entirely, but also as an allegory that all human existence is fated to end. Cut out pieces of paper or fragments of photographs change shape and consistency, becoming metaphors of a fragile memory, that seemingly and by instinct, with an innate creative force, are reborn from their own ashes.
Instead Fatiha Zemmouri’s expressive imprint is characterised by a strong minimalist vein that tends toward the invocation of the transformation of the constant transitory state of things but also of the natural universe and of humanity in general. The obvious material power of the elements used, like raw earth, wood or coal, condense into a tactile valence that exalts metamorphic processes particularly as regards visceral links between human beings and the natural world.