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Art Speaks: Louder than Words is a new cultural programme comprising exhibitions, talks, workshops, and music events conceived and developed by art historian and curator Christine Eyene in collaboration with Fondation Ali Zaoua’s Centres Culturels Les Etoiles de Sidi Moumen (Casablanca)and Les Etoiles de Jamaa El Fna (Marrakech).

Irene Antonia Diane Reece, The Beauty Of It All, from the ‘Billie-James’ series, 2016-ongoing. Courtesy the artist.

The programme features Youness Atbane (Morocco/Germany), Shiraz Bayjoo (Mauritius/United Kingdom), Souki Belghiti (Morocco), Kyoo Choix (South Korea/France), Kid Kreol & Boogie (France), L’Atelier de l’Observatoire (Morocco), Ziad Naitaddi (Morocco), Ada Pinkston (United States), Myriam Omar Awadi (France), Irene Antonia Diane Reece (United States), and Oliver Ressler (Austria). The exhibitions will present existing works and new commissions exploring the relationships between narration, history, and creative processes through socially engaged themes and experimental artistic approaches. 

Launching on Wednesday 31 May at Centre Culturel Les Etoiles de Jamaa El Fna (Marrakech), Against Wind and Tide will showcase works by Kyoo Choix, Ziad Naitaddi, Ada Pinkston, Irene Antonia Diane Reece,and Oliver Ressler. Taking its cue from an expression evoking forms of resilience against adversity, the exhibition will gather works which themes are embedded within the encounters resulting from navigating tumultuous currents, ranging from colonial histories, migration, social and climate justice, feminism, personal and collective memory, to the imaginary as a space for agency and subversion. The opening event will include artists conversations and music by Reunionese artist and DJ Boogz Brown. 

On Friday 2 June, Institut français de Casablanca will host ‘Resisting Voices’a conversation between Myriam Omar Awadi and Irene Antonia Diane Reece on historical and contemporary forms of feminist resistance, and their visual and performative representations. 

This will be followed by the opening of Myriam Omar Awadi: Les Feux Que Vos Derniers Souffles Ravivent (The Fires Your Last Breaths Revive) a performance and video projection on the Debe, an exclusively female ceremony born in the Comoro Islands in the mid 19th century that disappeared in the 1950s with the growing influence of Western culture. Omar Awadi invites us to discover the freedom, insolence, and relevance of the words spoken by these women who would meet, dance, and sing about the injustices and abuses of authorities. 

The conversations will continue Saturday 3 June at The American Arts Center (Casablanca) with: Youness Atbane, Shiraz Bayjoo, Souki Belghiti, Kyoo Choix, Christine Eyene, Kid Kréol & Boogie, L’Atelier de l’Observatoire, Ziad Naitaddi, Myriam Omar Awadi, and Irene Antonia Diane Reece.

In the evening, Centre Culturel Les Etoiles de Sidi Moumen (Casablanca) will premiere Shiraz Bayjoo: Pu Travers Sa Dilo (To Cross This Water) and a new mural by Kid Kreol & Boogie.

Bayjoo’s new fabric based sculptural installation continues the artist’s explorations on the themes of survival and resistance, drawing from archival images of Creole musicians, Swahili dhows, illustrations of early European expeditions on the east African coast, and captured slave ships. It also thinks through language, music, and alludes to creolisation as a pathway. Kid Kréol & Boogiewill draw from themes connected to Reunion Island and beyond, as well as inspirations from the vibrant Casablanca and Sidi Moumen cultural scene, to create their new piece. 

DJ Boogz Brown will immerse the audience into an Indian Ocean sonic vibe.

Additional events including conversations, walkabouts, and portfolio reviews will take place in Marrakech and Casablanca in June and July.

Running from 31 May to 21 July 2023, Art Speaks: Louder than Words is a statement project reasserting artists’ integrity, curatorial agency and ethics.

This programme, and the newly created and commissioned works, are supported by BMKOES: The Austrian Ministry of the Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport; British Council; FRAC Réunion; Liverpool John Moores University; MOCO Esba (École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Montpellier); Phileas: The Austrian Office for Contemporary Art; Pro Helvetia – Swiss Art Council (Zurich/Cairo); Tate; and private sponsors.

For more information, visit Art Speaks or contact [email protected].

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