Sharjah Art Foundation collaborates with Tate St Ives to present the first major museum exhibition of the Casablanca Art School, titled Platforms and Patterns for a Postcolonial Avant-Garde 1962–1987. On view at Tate St Ives, United Kingdom, from 27 May 2023 to 14 January 2024, the exhibition will travel to Sharjah in February 2024.
This landmark exhibition explores the work of artists whose revolutionary approach proposed a bold new visual culture following Morocco’s independence in 1956. Reflecting a new social awareness, artist-professors transformed the Casablanca Art School by encouraging artistic experiments, looking beyond western academic traditions and drawing on existing local culture.
This exhibition examines how the teachers and students of this institution combined traditional Berber skills, materials and visual languages with modernist influences from Europe and North America, creating a space to reimagine Moroccan contemporary art and its relationship with everyday life.
Working across painting, sculpture, graphic design, architectural mural painting and many other media, the artists associated with the school placed art into public spaces and promoted it as a shared experience. Bringing together works by 22 artists, the exhibition includes vibrant, abstract paintings, urban murals, craft, typology, graphics and ceramics, presented alongside rarely seen print archives, vintage journals and photographs.
Participating artists include Carla Accardi, Malika Agueznay, Hamid Alaoui, Mohamed Ataallah, Herbert Bayer, Farid Belkahia, Fouad Bellamine, Mohammed Chabâa, Saâd Ben Cheffaj, Ahmed Cherkaoui, André Elbaz, Abdellah El Hariri, Abdelkrim Ghattas, Mustapha Hafid, Anna Draus-Hafid, Mohamed Hamidi, Mohammed Kacimi, Miloud Labied, Mohamed Melehi, Houssein Miloudi, Abderrahman Rahoule and Chaïbia Tallal.
Organised by Tate St Ives and Sharjah Art Foundation, the exhibition is curated by Morad Montazami and Madeleine de Colnet for Zamân Books & Curating in conjunction with Anne Barlow, Director, Tate St Ives and Giles Jackson, Assistant Curator, Tate St Ives, and with associate researchers Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa and Maud Houssais. The exhibition in Sharjah, scheduled for February 2024, will be presented in collaboration with Sharjah Art Museum and curated with Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation.
The exhibition is also part of a key moment of an international research into the Casablanca Art School, initiated in 2020 by KW Institute for Contemporary Art and Sharjah Art Foundation, in partnership with Goethe-Institut Marokko, ThinkArt and Zamân Books & Curating.
About Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. The Foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region, and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The Foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions; and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.
About Tate St Ives
Opened in 1993 and expanded in 2017, Tate St Ives presents modern and contemporary art from the Tate collection alongside temporary exhibitions, new commissions, learning and research programmes. Tate St Ives manages the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, and is the only Tate gallery to have a dedicated Artist Residency programme. Tate St Ives was awarded Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018, the UK’s largest and most prestigious museum award.
Sharjah is the third largest of the seven United Arab Emirates, and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. It was named UNESCO's Arab Capital of Culture in 1998 and the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2019.
Alyazeyah Al Marri