Contemporary art is booming in Marrakech and with so many galleries to visit, where to start? From the medina and hip neighborhoods to the outskirts of the city, here are our top picks for where to see modern art in the Red City.
Aside from being a multi-cultural mecca steeped in diverse history, Marrakech is also an incredibly modern city that embraces contemporary art. Artists flock here from all over Morocco, Africa and the world seeking creative inspiration and some never leave. Now it’s your turn to be inspired and immerse yourself in Morocco’s creative culture.
What better opportunity to get to know local artisans than partaking in a creative workshop? Whether you have only a couple of days or longer to spend in Marrakech, this is an experience that will give you a better understanding of the culture of Morocco and maybe even a career change.
There are plenty of places that offer creative workshops in Marrakech, but Ateliers d’ailleurs offers the best variety of traditional Moroccan art courses that are guaranteed to unleash your creative spirit. Workshops are available for beginners, professionals, and families. There are even internship opportunities for those looking to develop their skills or plan on an extended stay in Marrakech.
What’s great about these courses is they are truly immersive, lasting for two to four hours depending on how much time you can spare, and are limited to small, intimate groups for optimum attention. Workshops available are pottery, zellige mosaics, wood carving, woodturning, brassware, leather, basketry, jewelry making, carpet weaving, and embroidery. With so much to choose from, you might not ever want to leave!
Maison 28 Marrakech
Looking for a total, creative retreat? Then book a stay at Maison 28 Marrakech. This incredible riad (traditional Moroccan home) lies smack in the middle of the medina where you will be exposed to endless creative inspiration simply by staying here. You can choose from several creative retreats: watercolor, weaving, writing, fabric dyeing, or a full desert creative immersion. Imagine how inspiring the desert of Morocco and taking a camel tour can be!
Their team of professional artists will help you to further explore your passion by expanding your artistic visions or helping you develop new artistic skills. Why not treat yourself to a unique experience that will benefit your art practice for years to come.
The traditional art of henna is an integral part of Moroccan culture both artistically and historically. Want to learn how to prepare and design your own henna art? Come, have fun and meet other people from around the world as you learn a new craft from experienced teachers. They also offer workshops on learning Moroccan Arabic (both short and long term) and how to cook a traditional Moroccan tajine. All workshops are kept to small groups and are available in English, French or Spanish.
Art Galleries and Art Museums
The first-ever contemporary photography-focused gallery in Africa opened in 2006. Galerie 127 was established by curator Nathalie Locatelli and is located in the Gueliz district. Currently representing the work of over 30 contemporary Moroccan and international photographers. Aside from temporary exhibitions, the gallery also hosts photography seminars and book signings.
Supporting both local and international young, emerging artists working in a range of different media: painting, sculpture, and photography since 2011. Go here to see who’s new on the Marrakech art scene. http://www.voicegallery.net/
David Bloch Gallery
Operating since 2010, David Bloch Gallery exhibits the work of established and emerging contemporary Moroccan and international artists. Styles are diverse and range in media from painting to graffiti art, sculpture to calligraphy. Experience the modern art of Marrakech.
This multi-disciplinary space serves as a cultural and artistic platform by supporting emerging artists and connecting Marrakech with artists from all over the world.
Le 18 also hosts talks, events, and workshops. Some past talks and events explored the poetics and politics of water and waterscapes in contemporary Morocco, Moroccan cinematography of both past and present, and the preservation of oral arts. Past workshops included drawing, storytelling, sound, fanzines, and self-publishing.
Le 18 also offers a residency opportunity open to local and foreign artists and researchers looking to deepen their practice through integration, exploration, and experience. Visit this space in the Riad Laarouss district of the old medina to meet with local artists, share ideas and expand your cultural horizon.
The eccentric Moroccan photographer, Hasan Hajjaj, renovated and transformed an old traditional house into a pop culture wonderland. Riad Yima is an unorthodox art gallery that offers a unique, tactile experience. Wander through its brightly painted interiors decorated with Hasan’s iconic photographs and upcycled creations from lanterns to clothing and furniture. This space also has a café so you can kick back on a pouf, drink a pot of mint tea, and process all its magic.
Comptoir des Mines Galerie
A commercial gallery with a laid-back feel, Comptoir is easy to spot with its earthy pink paint job and art deco architecture. Located in the Gueliz district, the gallery showcases works of contemporary Moroccan artists while at the same time, strives to preserve and support Morocco’s artistic heritage. The space is warm and inviting compared to the sterile feel most contemporary galleries possess.
MACAAL Museum of African Contemporary Art
An independent, not-for-profit contemporary art museum dedicated to the work of established and emerging African artists with a diverse collection that fills 900 square meters and spans over two floors. The museum also strives to provide art education initiatives through its MACAAL LAB which hosts artist lectures and workshops in collaboration with schools and universities. The museum also offers an artist residency opportunity available to visual artists, curators, and researchers.
Musee de’Art et de Culture de Marrakech (MACMA)
Historical and contemporary Moroccan art. This contemporary art museum located in Gueliz has a vast collection of Moroccan cultural heritage and contemporary artworks ranging from paintings, ceramics, photography, jewelry, pottery, and furniture.
Maison de la Photographie
Get to know Morocco more intimately by taking a photographic journey through the history of its land and people. This famed, photography museum’s collections include photographs seen through the lens of natives and travelers over the years from 1870-1960. Images are also captured by famous, amateurs and anonymous photographers. The extensive archives include glass negatives, postcards of Marrakech, prints, journals, maps, and magazines.
Marrakech is already breaking new ground with Africa’s contemporary art scene and continues to expand its creative wings towards the future.
Looking for your next big inspiration, then Marrakech is where you will definitely find it.