Marrakech Is Becoming the Next Art Destination

Marrakech Is Becoming the Next Art Destination

Go inside the opening of the all-important Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden in Morocco.

Go inside the opening of the all-important Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden in Morocco.

Text: Nadja Sayej

This weekend, Marrakech was the must-see city for art, as it was the opening of the new Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden. The museum is a philanthropic initiative by Moroccan art collectors Alami Lazraq and his son Othman Lazraq, who wanted a permanent space for their art collection. The gorgeous new museum is a terra cotta and brick building that was designed by Madrid architects Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano in collaboration with the Casablanca firm of Omar Alaoui.

Alongside their modern and contemporary African art collection—which has been growing over the past 40 years—they’re also showing young up-and-coming artists in the new group show “Africa is no Island,” which features 40 African photographers.

The museum is special because it’s the first of its kind to promote African contemporary art—not only for an international audience, but for locals. While they have no government funding, MACAAL is an independent, not-for-profit museum that highlights the creative energy and cultural diversity found across the continent. Stunning portraits by Ivory Coast photographer Joana Choumali were on view alongside self-portraits by Moroccan photographer Walid Layadi-Marfouk and much more.

This weekend also saw the 1-54 art fair, with selections from galleries from Paris, London, and beyond, descend upon the city, while a local fashion designer opened an exhibition at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Click through for snapshots from the sparkling opening of MACAAL and much more, featuring luminaries like Vanessa Branson (sister of Richard Branson) and Princess of Libya Alia Al-Senussi during a whirlwind weekend in Marrakech .

Ivory Coast artist Joana Choumali
Credits: Photos by Nadja Sayej

UP NEXT

The 7 Standout Collections from Milan Fashion Week