In 1978, the artists of AMAP (Association Marocaine des Arts Plastiques) published in reaction to a cultural event organised by Club Med in Marrakech that « Morocco is not only an aggregate of sun, light, colors and ‘slow time’, but a community where man thinks, feels, engages and creates. This is who we should and do address. The Comptoir des Mines Galerie, founded in 2016, has from the outset followed the strong ideas of the pioneering Moroccan artists who invented an alternative artistic modernity to that of the West in the wake of our country’s independence. How then to translate today the spirit of this manifesto and bring new elements of response to those who still associate Morocco only with sunny or picturesque images without apprehending the depth of its society.
The Comptoir des Mines project will attempt, through the works of Fatiha Zemmouri, Mustapha Akrim, Mohamed Arejdal, Khadija Jayi and Mouhcine Rahaoui, with very different practices, to speak with great sincerity about the ways of life in their territories and their legitimate aspirations to build a better society alongside the people. There is no exoticism here, but rather the observation that Morocco is a land of hard work, where too much « sun » is a curse, where work is an opportunity to be seized, sometimes at any price, and where being a woman artist from the rural world means confronting archaism and tradition.
Far from the large urban centres and prosperous cities, we wish to tell the story of a social impetus that can only be measured by visiting the Morocco of the peripheries, where the intelligence of the hand and the use of materials invent new visual languages in favor of sincere intimate narratives.
This surprise Morocco of the last football World Cup, revealed for us what we have already been observing since 2016, a nation in motion despite all the constraints it faces and aspires to overcome. The artists featured in this project follow in the footsteps of their elders and continue to address the people who « think, feel and create ».
Mustapha Akrim, Mohamed Arejdal, Khadija Jayi, Mouhcine Rahaoui, Fatiha Zemmouri
30 March — 2 April 2023
Grand Palais Éphémère, Champ-de-Mars. Paris