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City of Light Before The World

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Marcia Kure. The Three Graces (détail). 2014. Acrylic wig, bolts, paint, polyester thread, rug and wood. Courtesy Centre National d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou © Marcia Kure. Photo © Sophie Thun


The inaugural edition of the Rabat Biennale, which opened on 10 September, rocked the dreamy capital of Morocco. Curated by Abdelkader Damani, an art historian and the founder of the Orléans Architecture Biennale, Rabat Biennale (ends 18 December) is a reflection on artistic practices from the perspective of the Global South under the overarching title An Instant before the World. Designed as a constellation of interconnected themes,it features an international exhibition dedicated entirely to women artists of 27 different nationalities, as well as three cartes blanches granted to Moroccan artist Mohamed El Baz, filmmaker NarjissNejjar and Tunisian novelist Fawzia Zouari.

Morocco’s City of Light is effervescent in this celebration of its rich past and present as it converses with both the Arab world and the Mediterranean. “The arrival of the ocean on the shoreline gives you no other option but to turn back the way you came. So you have to decide to go back or else return to the point of origin. So I chose to return to the origins,” writes Damani in his curatorial statement.

Amit Varadrajan is a staff writer at Canvas, covering news, politics, and culture
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