Tuesday, May 10, 2022
MENART FAIR in Paris, May 19-22, 2022
The “Casablanca School”: an expansion of the artistic field
in the service of Moroccan modernity
The exhibition "Casablanca School" within MENART FAIR orchestrated by the curator and specialist in Middle Eastern art, Fadia Antar, attempts to capture the inspiration that this movement launched between 1962 and 1971. A great enthusiasm led this group of artists and their students to experiment with their art, produce discourses, and exhibit in public spaces. Furthermore, they positioned themselves within the history of art.

Mohamed Hamidi, Sans titre, 1977, technique mixte sur papier, 17 x 24 cm
© L’École de Casablanca

On view, will be exceptional works of art by Farid Belkahia (1934-2014), Mohamed Melehi (1936-2020), Mohamed Chabâa (1935-2013), Mohamed Hamidi (1941), Abdellah Hariri (1949), Abderrahmane Rahoule (1944) and Abdelkader Laaraj (1950). 
When the artist Farid Belkahia (1934-2014) was appointed in 1962 as the director of the Casablanca School of Fine Arts, he cooperated with a group of artists and teachers, Mohamed Melehi (1936-2020), Mohamed Chabâa (1935-2013), and Mohamed Hamidi (1941) in order to restructure the educational basis of the art teaching. They restored the popular and traditional artistic heritage of Morocco by including artisanal crafts in the institution's programs.
The Casablanca school was not limited to an architectural context nor the educational program of an art school. It was above all a movement in search of artistic and cultural modernity specific to Morocco. It was a socio-cultural positioning that challenged the Academic system of art education and the Euro-centered art history.

Abdelkader Laaraj, Sans titre, peinture cellulosique sur bois, 90 x 80 cm, © L’École de Casablanca
Mohamed Hamidi, Sans Titre, 1971, huile sur bois, 100 x 70 cm, © L’École de Casablanca
This group of artists engaged in a study bringing back the practice of traditional geometric abstraction and the use of signs and symbols characteristic to their Berber, Arab-Muslim, and African social culture. In addition, they used materials of their surroundings such as leather, metal, and natural pigments as their mediums.

Mohamed Melehi, Sans titre, 1975, peinture cellulosique sur bois, 100 x 120 cm, © L’École de Casablanca
Farid Belkahia, Sans titre, 2000, Pigments naturels sur cuir, Tondo, Diamètre 70 cm, © L’École de Casablanca


Practical information

Venue: Cornette de Saint Cyr, 6 avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris
Dates: from Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 May 2022, from 12pm to 7pm
Press preview: Wednesday May 18, 2022, from 4pm to 6pm
Institutions opening: Wednesday, May 18, 2022, from 6pm to 10pm (by invitation only)


MENART FAIR 2021  ©️ Irène de Rosen


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