press release

5th International Biennale of Casablanca 2020
24.09.2020 - 01.11.2020

The International Biennale of Casablanca is pleased to announce the first list of artists: Amira Hanafi, Khaled Kaddal, Alessandra Ferrini, Kyoo Choix, Ada Pinkston, Alice Mann.

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The Biennale Internationale de Casablanca is pleased to announce the theme of its fifth edition scheduled from 24 September to 1st November 2020.

Placed under the artistic direction of Christine Eyene, the 5th Biennale Internationale de Casablanca will focus on the theme The words create images. This curatorial concept takes its cue from a comment by South African photographer George Hallett discussing the literary inspiration at the heart of his photography practice, in an interview with John Edwin Mason, Associate Professor of African history and the history of photography at the University of Virginia. It also refers to an observation by Jacques Derrida in his seminar Trace and archive, image and art (2002), on the idea of ​​words acting as images beyond their discursive properties.

The link between African literatures and creative processes will unfold in Casablanca and make way for the imaginary and narratives that nourish contemporary artistic creation. The biennale will open onto the fields of text, word, sign and languages, both vernacular and through their relationship with the colonial linguistic legacies in Africa and beyond. It will also involve questioning the ways in which language influences the thought systems and, by extension, the discourses and interpretations of a work of art, both in its matter and metaphorical sense.

A reflection on translation and the untranslatable will also be developed. The notion of communication will also be approached through its means, methods, and media, whether oral, written or coded; through the transmission of customary, historical or contemporary stories; and through dialogue, with consideration for the diversity of discursive spaces, and how location informs, expands, or limits the room for expression. In this respect, the adoption of the term كلمة (kalima or word in Arabic), calls to mind the eponymous Moroccan feminist journal from the late 1980s that symbolised reclaimed voices and, ultimately, silencing.

The curatorial concept of the 2020 edition is available on the biennale's website. The open call formulated along the lines of this note of intention was quite successful and a first list of artists will be announced in September 2019. Ahead of that, the biennale launched its 2019-2020 incubation programme at its new venue in Casablanca, the BIC Project Space.

New international partnerships are being developed, among which the biennale can already mention the Making Histories Visible project at the University of Central Lancashire which support will first consist in the curatorial research, the hosting of participatory workshops, and artists residencies.

The biennale is also consolidating its partnership with New Art Exchange (Nottingham) as part of Africa/UK: Transforming Art Ecologies and Here, There & Everywhere, NAE’s programmes of international artistic collaborations supported by Arts Council England. Building on a network of cultural agents based on the African continent, this collaboration will contribute to support the talent development of four emerging art professionals who will join the biennale’s 2020 team. NAE will also be a partner of the biennale’s artists residency programme both at Ifitry (Essaouira region) and at the BIC Project Space.

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Six Reunionese Artists at the 5th International Biennale of Casablanca

The International Biennale of Casablanca is pleased to announce a new partnership with FRAC RÉUNION (Fonds régional d’art contemporain de La Réunion) as part of the participation of six Reunionese artists at the 5th edition of the biennale, scheduled 24 September to 1 November 2020.

The artists are: Jean-Sébastien Clain and Yannis Nanguet (aka Kid Kréol & Boogie), Brandon Gercara, Christian Jalma (aka Pink Floyd), Gabrielle Manglou and Myriam Omar Awadi.

This intergenerational selection reflects the wide range of contemporary artistic practices in Reunion Island, a territory which cultural heritage stretches between France, the East African coast, islands from the Indian Ocean, India and China.

The works presented at the biennale will address a variety of topics specific to Reunion Island while being at the heart of current decolonial thoughts. This will include an exploration of the island’s founding myths, the history of slavery, colonisation and independence struggles, in ways that propose a new reading of the past in light of the present, and vice versa, drawing from both traces or storytelling, and memorial objects.

To Floyd's metaphysical thoughts and cosmogonic universe, embodied in installation, sound art and performance, will respond the art of Kid Kréol & Boogie whose works on paper, sculptures, murals and interventions in the public space deal with an ancestral content in a contemporary manner.

Drawings, photographs, volumes, archival images and Moroccan women’s traditional knowledge will feed into Gabrielle Manglou’s new creations. Myriam Omar Awadi will expand her field of research in the Comoro Islands to study the history of the Debe, an ancient Comorian ceremony exclusively female, inspired by Arabic literature, born at the beginning of French colonisation in the mid-nineteenth century.

Finally, the performative art of Brandon Gercara will propose a new approach to gender narratives through a critical study of the dynamics of domination in a postcolonial context.

Myriam Omar Awadi’s residency in the Comoros receives additional support from FRAC RÉUNION. The other 5 artists will be hosted in Morocco for a research period in Casablanca and a creative residency at Ifitry (Essaouira region). Floyd's residency is organised in collaboration with Lerka - Space for Research and Creation in Contemporary Arts (Saint-Denis de la Réunion).