5 Contemporary Art Galleries and Museums to Visit in Marrakech
The art scene in Marrakech has been flourishing for decades now, ever since it attracted artists and aesthetes such as Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Berge and Jimi Hendrix to its creative oasis. Over the years, Marrakech has evolved into a cultural center that highlights the best that Morocco has to offer, from stunning royal residences, traditional riads, lush, verdant landscapes and desert dunes.
The North African country has long been at the intersection of a booming art market, thanks to its adjacency to Europe and the US. Marrakech has fast become a buzzing hub for Africa’s diasporic art world, with a focus on representation and celebration of homegrown talent and African creativity.
Read on below for five places to see contemporary African art in Morocco’s creative capital.
Montresso Art Foundation
Installation view of “People With Beautiful Eyes” by Ignacio Lobera
Founded in Morocco in 2009, Montresso was established to support the creation and promotion of artistic research. It functions as a hybrid place that houses an art space and an artist residency known as the Jardin Rouge as well as its exterior walls, which serve as a canvas too, displaying works of art. Montresso invites both local talent as well as emerging creatives from across Africa, with an emphasis on artistic development and the powerful effect art and culture have on social change. Jardin Rouge runs eight workshops each season, allowing for the cultural exchange of ideas, experimentation and dialogue between artists.
Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden
Outsiders/Insiders? at MACAAL. Photograph by Ayoub El Bardii
A cultural institution known for its trove of contemporary art, the role of the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) in raising the profile of local artists can not be overstated. Operating as an independent not-for-profit museum, MACAAL is solely dedicated to the curation and promotion of contemporary African art on the continent. Its collection is rich with more than 2,000 works, representing of all forms of artistic expression from Africa and the diaspora. Established in 2017 by art collectors and father-and-son duo Alami and Othman Lazraq, MACAAL curates diverse exhibitions showcasing Moroccan art as well as those from neighboring countries to an international audience from Europe and North America. It also runs education and community programs as well as artist residencies, which has included photographer Maïmouna Guerresi and illustrator Mohamed Haïti. Its current exhibition is Outsiders/Insiders?, a group show featuring a selection of works from artist originating from Essaouira.
Comptoir des Mines
The Comptoir des Mines Galerie, Marrakech
Located in a heritage former mining office and Art Deco building constructed in 1932, Comptoir des Mines is a modern, experimental art center and gallery dedicated to amplifying the visibility of emerging artists from the continent. It functions as a benchmark venue for Marrakech’s new arts scene and partners with national and foreign artistic institutions to organize events such as the Marrakech Art Fair. Steep in its national identity, the gallery not only works with the best emerging talents, it also proudly promotes the preservation of Moroccan artistic heritage.
“Anima” by Tina Merandon on display at Galerie 127
Exclusively dedicated to showcasing contemporary photography, Galerie 127 is the first and only of its kind in Marrakech. It opened its doors in 2006 and since the has produced more than 100 exhibitions of Moroccan and international photographers, including Mouna Saboni, Daoud Aoulad Syad, Yasmina Bouziane and Safaa Mazirh. The brainchild of Nathalie Locatelli, who left a career in fashion to pursue her passion for photography, Galerie 127 aims to share the unique perspective and views of Moroccan artists in their own territory.
Le 18 Marrakech
“Between Wells” exhibition at Le 18 Marrakech. Art by Oli Bonzanigo
Founded in 2013, Le 18 is an independent platform for creation and cultural and artistic exchanges. Its objective is to support emerging artists by enhancing their research through residencies and examining their projects within the space through a rich program of exhibitions, presentations and events within the community. Located in Riad Laarouss in the old medina of Marrakech, Le 18 also works to connect the cultural scenes of Marrakech to the international landscape through an open and progressive approach that helps to redefine the spirit of the city while continuing its commitment to creation.