Marrakech launching new African art museum, art fair in February

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Marrakech launching new African art museum, art fair in February

Maimouna Guerresi, "Throne in White," 2016

Marrakech is set to draw crowds over the coming month as it welcomes the inaugural African edition of the 1-54 contemporary African art fair, while staging the international launch of its own major museum devoted to contemporary African art.

Held in London for the past five years and in New York for three, 1-54 is focused to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. From February 24-25, Marrakech will be home to the fair's first edition on the African continent, welcoming 60 international artists and 17 galleries from Africa and around the world.

With the art world in town for 1-54, the city will seize the occasion to open its brand-new Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) to an international audience. MACAAL, which held a local launch in 2016, during COP22, is said to be the first of its kind in North Africa: an independent, not-for-profit contemporary art museum that aims to collect and exhibit established and emerging artists from across the continent.

Upon opening, the museum will present a group photography show, "Africa is No Island," showcasing the work of 40 photographers intended to highlight the cultural diversity found across the continent and its diaspora, and joined by a sound installation brining the noises of Marrakech into the museum -- a way to evoke a sense of a "communal Moroccan experience," says the museum.

"Africa is No Island" runs from February 24 through August 24.

MACAAL joins another major museum to open its doors in Marrakech in recent months: late last year, the city became home to a brand-new museum devoted to the French couturier Yves Saint Laurent, displaying more than 5,000 items of clothing and 15,000 haute couture accessories in a striking new venue.

Find out more about the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair: 1-54.com/marrakech

Find out more about MACAAL and its opening exhibitions: macaal.org/en