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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 seminarTrace and archive, image and art (2002), on the idea of ​​words acting as images beyond their discursive properties.

Vernissage 4th International Biennale of Casablanca at Villa des Artes; opening address by Artistic Director Christine Eyene (centre).Vernissage 4th International Biennale of Casablanca at Villa des Artes; opening address by Artistic Director Christine Eyene (centre). Photographer: Brendon Bell-Roberts

The link between African works of literature 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 the 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 supporting 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 residency programme both at Ifitry (Essaouira region) and at the BIC Project Space.

Read the press release here.

Visit www.biennalecasablanca.org  for more information on the Biennale Internationale de Casablanca.

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