Tangier gets a new Museum of Contemporary Art

A new Museum of Contemporary Art opened its doors in Tangier on Thursday, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the National Foundation of Museums (FNM).
Located in the old Kasbah prison, the “Kasbah Museum, contemporary art space” is a living place of meetings, exchanges and sharing and will present a cultural programme and exhibitions related to the northern region.
The ceremony, which was attended by the President of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Regional Council, Omar Moro, and a number of intellectuals, artists and cultural actors from the city, was marked by the opening of the inaugural exhibition “The School of the North”, which pays tribute to the artists of the school of the North and their contribution to artistic creativity in Morocco.
This exhibition reflects this cultural melting pot and proposes a rereading of the artistic specificities of this region, with works by Mohamed Serghini, Mohamed Ataallah, Mohamed Yacoubi, Mohamed Chabâa, Saad Ben Cheffaj, Mekki Meghara, Mohamed Melehi, and Abdelkrim Ouazzani, among others, from the FNM collection and from loans.
“This museum is located in the former Kasbah prison, a place that has been restored and made available to the Foundation, with the support of the Wilaya of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region and the local authorities, to make this space of despair (prison) a place of hope, in this difficult period marked by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, where the Foundation continues to bring light and art to life in a country of culture, history and heritage,” said FNM President Mehdi Qotbi.
Qotbi welcomed the opening of this museum at this exceptional time, noting that it is a tribute to King Mohammed VI who gave culture the place it deserves in a modern and developed society, noting that this space enriches the cultural and museum offer of the city of the Strait and that the public will have access, as soon as the borders open, to a range of museums in all cities of Morocco.
This exhibition, he noted, aims to make known the exceptional artists from the North of Morocco who have illuminated our artistic sky and enriched Moroccan painting, adding “it is a joy to see, in this difficult period, that art and culture are still there to help us, enlighten us and give us hope.
For his part, the director of the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, responsible for the renovation of museums at the FNM, Abdelaziz El Idrissi, stressed that this new museum, built on the former prison of the Kasbah, a historical monument built from the 17th century, which is one of the essential components of the Palace of the Kasbah, noting that this space, which remained functional until the early 1970s as a civil prison, It was rehabilitated and refurbished within the framework of the project for the rehabilitation and enhancement of the medina of Tangier, supervised by the Wilaya of Tangier, with the contribution of the Ministry of Culture, the Agency for the Promotion and Development of the North (APDN) and the FNM, aiming to provide the Kasbah Museum, which is already in existence, with another adjoining museum, which will make it possible to make this archaeological and historical museum more dynamic and to provide it with a mobile, flexible structure capable of retaining the loyalty of the public.
El Idrissi, also co-curator of the exhibition, said that this exhibition aims to highlight the historical artistic heritage of northern Morocco, including the schools of Tetouan and Tangier, and offers a homogeneous path that tells the story of the role played by the northern school in the genesis of Moroccan art in general. He said that the Ecole du Nord brings together all the artistic visions and thoughts that emanate from the region and that have shaped modern and contemporary Moroccan creation, noting that a cultural program will be proposed by this space to create a good connection with other cultural spaces in the city such as Villa Harris and the Kasbah Museum, and to set up a homogeneous course that will tell the history of Morocco in general, and that of Tangier in particular.
For her part, Salima El Aissaoui, in charge of cultural mediation at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and co-curator of the “School of the North” exhibition, noted that this exhibition, organised by the FNM, in collaboration with the Wilaya of the region, shows about 70 works from the FNM’s collection, The exhibition, organised by the FNM in collaboration with the Wilaya of the region, shows about 70 works from the collection of the FNM, and from art deposits, whether from the Royal Academy of Morocco or the Ministry of Culture, and aims to tell the story of art in the northern region of Morocco, which is considered the stronghold of artistic creation in Morocco and continues to be the epicentre of artistic renewal in terms of plastic and visual arts. This exhibition, she added, proposes a rereading of the history of modern and contemporary art in this territory as fertile as it is diversified and aims to pay tribute to its artists of yesterday and today. As for Mzibra Hajar, project manager within the APDN in charge of the rehabilitation project of the ex-prison of the Kasbah, which is part of the rehabilitation and valorisation programme of the old medina of Tangier, initiated by HM King Mohammed VI, She stressed that this project had two components, namely the rehabilitation of the site which aimed at safeguarding its authenticity, and the scenography, which is the result of hard work carried out by scenographers and architects to safeguard this architectural and historical jewel. She said that this new contemporary art space, built on the former prison of the Kasbah, located in the architectural complex of Riad Sultane, which includes the Dar El Mekhzen Palace, the Kasbah Mosque, the Mechouar and Bayt al Mal as well as other outbuildings of the palatial complex, aims to strengthen the attractiveness of the medina of Tangier and the accessibility of citizens to the discovery of the art and history.
The APDN, as project manager, has ensured the rehabilitation and restoration of this structure, as well as the work of scenographic development, with a budget of 13 million dirhams, said Ms. Mzibra, noting that this building, designed to meet the objective of accessibility for all, thanks in particular to the installation of lift and ramps, integrates multi-purpose exhibition spaces, an open meeting space and utility spaces on a total area of 1,225 m2.
This ceremony was also marked by the signing of a partnership agreement by the president of the FNM, Mehdi Qotbi, the director general of the Saham Foundation, Ghalia Benabdejelil, and the director of the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA) of Tetouan, Mehdi Zouak, for the promotion of art and young creative artists who are laureates of the Institute.
In a statement, Ms. Benabdejelil stressed that the Saham Foundation is pleased to accompany the FNM and the INBA to promote youth and culture, through the support of INBA laureates, especially the majors, by providing them with funds, in order to promote culture in Morocco and strengthen the social and professional integration of young people.
It should be noted that this new contemporary museum space in the Kasbah, the third opened by the FNM in Tangier, confirms the Foundation’s desire to establish itself in every city and region of the Kingdom.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.