Artistic december in Casablanca

You had decided to travel overseas for the end of year celebrations and you find yourself stuck in Morocco? You’ve heard the rumours of “cancellation of flight cancellations”, but you don’t really believe them, or you’re afraid that it will happen again when you get back, and you’ve decided to stay here, no matter what?

Here are some ideas for art activities in Casablanca to help you get through the festive season.

A painting exhibition

On 30 December, the Artcurial gallery is organising a big sale in Marrakech with three parts:

Jacques Majorelle and his contemporaries

The catalogue is full of beautiful paintings, many of which are from private collections and therefore less well known. In any case, I made some nice discoveries, like this view of Ouarzazate which reminded me of many things. Except for a bridge, almost nothing has changed!

Painting by Jacques Majorelle representing a douar along the Ouarzazate wadi

Adobe houses along the bed of the Ouarzazate wadi (river) – Jacques Majorelle (1928) © Artcurial

Modern and Contemporary Art

In this part of the sale, we find some very big names, such as Chagall or Picasso. Some works are linked to Morocco, via Orientalism, such as an extended odalisque by Matisse, while others are further away, such as this drawing of a bullfight by Picasso.

Pablo Picasso - Rider and Picador in the bullring

Pablo Picasso – Rider and Picador in the bullring

However, it echoes the very beautiful series of horsemen by Hassan El Glaoui or the fantasia by Amine Demnati, which themselves refer to older works such as this drawing by Jean-Gaston Mantel.

Jg Mantel - Fantasia

Jg Mantel – Fantasia

Amine Demnati - Fantasia

Amine Demnati – Fantasia

 

Hassan El Glaoui - Riders

Hassan El Glaoui – Riders

African contemporary art

Finally, in keeping with Marrakech’s African openness, the catalogue expands on Africa with an important collection of contemporary African artists, photographers and painters. There are some very beautiful portraits, such as this couple by Seydou Keïta:

Seydou Keita - Untitled

Seydou Keita – Untitled

I also really liked the works of Mamadou Cissé, whose meticulous, figurative graphics become almost abstract (and remind me of wax patterns)

Mamadou Cisse - Futures Cities

Mamadou Cisse – Futures Cities

or the bright colours of Tegene Kunbi

Tegene Kunbi - Untitled

Tegene Kunbi – Untitled

Discover the artworks in Casablanca

An exhibition of part of the catalogue is organised in Casablanca, from Tuesday 15 December to Thursday 17 December 2021, from 11am to 8pm, at the Galerie Venise Cadre Casablanca, 25 boulevard Moulay Rachid (not far from the Casablanca Hotel).

I asked Artcurial which works will be presented, I imagine that we won’t see the most expensive ones, like the Picasso or the Matisse, for security reasons, but in reality I don’t know. A bit of a “surprise package” exhibition, hoping that the Majorelle will be there!

Take part in a painting workshop, if you speak at least little French

Food Art by Atelier Nomade

Food Art by Atelier Nomade

Regularly, the Atelier Nomade organizes painting workshops on Saturday afternoon. The last one took place at the NKOA restaurant on the theme of Food Art. Each workshop starts with a presentation of the theme, with examples of work, and then you start painting, using models.

You don’t need to be an experienced artist, the supplies provided allow you to use more or less simple techniques, depending on your experience, and the organisers are there to help you.

With the cancellation of flights, the Workshop has decided to organise an extra session on 18 December. For more details, to register, you can contact them via their Facebook page or directly by email: atelier.nomade.artistes@gmail.com (the participation fee is 300 dirhams).

Buying handmade Christmas decorations made in Morocco

High-end craftsmanship is also an art, and that’s exactly how you can describe the productions of Atelier Aït Manos, which revisits traditional Moroccan zellige with a touch of modernity and humour, such as the zellipuzzles which are at once a pretty toy, a decorative object and, if you make them “upside down” as the artisans do in Morocco, who mount the mosaics face down, a pretty puzzle.

Zellige Christmas stars

Christmas stars in zelliges by Aït Manos

Moroccan ceramic Christmas stars

Moroccan ceramic Christmas stars, gold-plated or white glazed, by Aït Manos

You can see their products on their website, but this one is dedicated to online sales in Europe. It was in a French magazine that I saw their zellige Christmas tree decorations.

But in Morocco, you can buy them in their showroom in Casablanca, or order them (Aït Manos delivers everywhere in Morocco). And the prices are of course different: 800 dirhams instead of 135 € for the boxes of four large and four small multicolor or white stars, and 1,100 dirhams instead of 195 € for the box of four white stars and four gold stars.

The address of the showroom: 157, Bd de la Résistance، Casablanca 20100, and the telephone: 05224-42667. The showroom is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, continuously, and on Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm

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