It’s art-time in Morocco; it’s the Marrakech Biennale time! For its sixth edition which runs from February 24 to May 8, 2016, organizers really did their best to make art the true connection between cultures. This year, the program includes several surprises for the audience as well. There are some of the well-known names of the international street art scene, an inspirational two-city project of mural-painting (one of them turning out to be the biggest in North Africa, but will be back to that later), a little bit of cultural heritage revivals, well-known Berber bags, and above all - a special charity auction which is about to begin soon. And the final outcome? A direct donation to the ABURY Foundation School in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, where 42 women and 30 children are going through carefully crafted literacy, health, and art education program.
Okay, now let’s go back to the beginning. When Andrea Bury, founder of the ABURY Foundation first came to Morocco back in 2008 she was impressed by the beauty of the traditional craftwork, but at the same time devastated for realizing the slow vanish of the country’s cultural identity. Morocco certainly couldn’t escape the destiny of the whole wide world which has had its globalization hat on for too long, Andrea knew that. She just started wondering how that true authenticity could be saved. So she came up with an idea! With a purpose to cherish the originality of the 'Shoukaras', also known as Berber bags, she would gather a crew of international street artists, give them the freedom to treat those bags as they want, in order to mix the difference between Moroccan culture and their own style, and she would make it all for a good cause.
While Andrea was thinking her idea through, Vestalia Chilton of ATTOLLO had already taken some action steps to curate the project MB6: Street Art organized within 6th edition of Marrakech Biennale (MB). For the first time, curatorial concept of urban art took an active part in the Biennale program, and all of the participating street artists gathered together in Marrakech and Essaouira to paint their murals during the period of three months, ending in February 2016. There were such greats as MadC from Germany, RUN from Italy, DagInsky and LX ONE from France, and the UK-based artists Lucy McLauchlan, Yesbee and Sickboy, just to name a few. As it turned out, Giacomo Bufarini, a.k.a. RUN was on a special mission – to paint the biggest mural in North Africa. The result is Les Rives (The Shores). It took seven days, 280 liters of paint mixed with natural pigments, and 6,400 square meters of the floor of Moulay Hassan Square in Essaouira to be completed. Now the picture of two people talking across the river-border stands as a reminder of the importance of an intercultural communication and a mutual understanding.
After all of the 17 murals had come out as great as expected, artists were getting ready to go back to their day-to-day activities when Andrea Bury entered their story. That was the point when all just clicked together. Soon after, the artist crew was up to a new challenge. Andrea Bury gave them Berber bags to play and integrate ‘a piece of their heart’ into it. Her initial idea finally came to a realization. The newly-crafted Berber bags are going to be available through a charity auction with an aim of a direct donation to women and children education. The whole project is titled Pass on the Flame, referring to the preservation of the cultural identity for new generations while keeping it safe from the ‘big bad globalized world’.
The unique artisanal Berber bags will be offered through the online auction, via Catawiki website, starting April 29. Everyone interested in supporting the school in the Atlas Mountains needs to register on the Catawiki and to take the auction further from there. The last day for bidding will be May 8, 2016, which is the final day of the Marrakech Biennale as well. And what could be more perfect for celebrating the extraordinary work done by an exceptional group of artists backed up by the ATTOLLO and the ABURY Foundation, than a good old party-time. MB6: Street Art VIP Closing Party is scheduled to start on Saturday, May 7, at the Kosybar in Marrakech. It will feature VJ-ing, live music, exhibition, and a view of Pass on the Flame Berber bags, as well as the MB6: Street Art documentary preview. Don’t miss out!
Featured image: LX ONE - Section of his mural in Marrakech - MB6: Street Art Project - © Ian Cox 2016
Slider image: Lucy McLauchlan - Painting her mural in Marrakech - MB6 Street Art Project - © Ian Cox 2016