Abdeljalil Saouli’s “Hybridations”
              Antonia Alampi
              Subject of the orientalist eye par excellence, Marrakesh is a glossy and colorful concentrate of its plural roots, with a strong dose of Arabic and Berber culture Europeanized by French colonialism and mass tourism. While several North African and Western Asian countries are witnessing a dramatic decrease in tourism due to political unrest, Morocco is lavishly aiming to host 20 million visitors by 2020—a defining factor in the government’s economical and infrastructural policies, encouraging large-scale investments in tourist attractions, and promising a new and global future in urban mega-projects. The cultural sector is flourishing, with the paramount and historically rooted role of private investors and patrons initiating and financing biennials (the Marrakech Biennale is about to open the doors of its sixth edition), large museums (two are in the making in the Red City alone), and smaller multi-disciplinary organizations (see, for instance, the arts centre Dar al-Ma’mûn). Local administration has only recently and still tentatively placed interest in critical and independent art initiatives, privileging otherwise commercial or more sensational enterprises. Within this entanglement between private resources and public interest, Marrakesh’s Voice Gallery is devoted to supporting and producing the work of socially, and politically sensitive artists, from young practitioners such as …

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