1:54 Marrakech Announces Talks Program

 Above: 1-54 FORUM with George Shire, Melanie Keen, Elvira Dyangani Ose and Sepake Angiama, London 2017 © Katrina Sorrentino




Curated for the first time by Omar Berrada, curator, writer, and Director of Dar al-Ma’mûn, Marrakech, the programme entitled Always Decolonise! will take place during the fair at La Mamounia. In addition, FORUM will host two sessions at ESAV (L’École Supérieure des Arts Visuels de Marrakech) and LE 18, a multidisciplinary art space. Berrada will also oversee the FORUM programme at the fourth 1-54 New York edition in May.

The 1-54 Marrakech FORUM programme Always Decolonise! will engage with the notion that decolonisation is not a historical event that belongs to the past. In the face of lingering coloniality, the programme will explore the idea that decolonisation is an everyday task, in constant need of re-actualisation. In a series of talks, panel discussions, screenings and performances, FORUM will foreground the need to decolonise knowledge production, to unlearn Eurocentrism, and to build new futures by re-membering the remaining fragments of folklorised pasts. FORUM will call upon the imagination of artists and cultural producers to help invent new modes of acting and thinking.



Elisabeth Efua Sutherland, Sui Generis, 2015.
Chalewote Street Art Festival. Photo: Desire Clarke
Attendance to all FORUM talks is free. Seats are limited, book in advance here to avoid disappointment.

Full FORUM programme:

Friday 23 February

17:00 – 19:00 The Return of Amilcar Cabral
A rare opportunity to engage with the work of filmmaker Sana Na N’hada (Guinea-Bissau), an artist-protagonist of African liberation struggles. N’hada was a disciple and companion of Amílcar Cabral, and the author of the first film produced in Guinea-Bissau, The Return of Amílcar Cabral (1976, 31’), which will be screened alongside his more recent documentary on contemporary urban life in Bissau, Bissau d’Isabel (2005, 52’).
Location: ESAV. Language: French


Saturday 24 February

14:00 – 15:00 When Rain Falls on the Mountain of Punt
Contemporary understandings of the Red Sea region are fixed to territorial affinities that are entangled in colonial logics. Drawing on the recent discovery linking Egypt to Eritrea through ancient mummified baboons, Black Athena Collective (Dawit L. Petros and Heba Amin) will investigate contemporary geographies using an alternative conceptual framework. Archaeological and forensic approaches to mobility with an array of visual forms will converge into an expanded performance of history.
Location: La Mamounia. Language: English


15:30 – 16:30 Narcissus and Echo
Grada Kilomba (artist and writer, Berlin) will present and discuss a new video work, Illusions (2018, 32’), which re-stages the myth of Narcissus and Echo using the oral tradition of African storytelling, where the artist herself plays the role of the Griot. Here, Narcissus is a metaphor for a society that has not come to terms with its colonial history and takes itself and its own image as the only objects of love, while Echo is reduced to endlessly repeating Narcissus’ words. Kilomba asks, how do we break out of this colonial and patriarchal mould?
Location: La Mamounia. Language: English


17:00 – 18:30 Decolonising Knowledge
What is the significance of intangible cultural heritage? How can we re-order the narratives and representations from and about the African continent? And what does truly free education look like? This panel will explore decolonial strategies in the field of knowledge production, with Nana Oforiatta-Ayim (writer and curator, Accra), Ahmed Skounti (anthropologist, Marrakech) and Donna Kukama (artist, Johannesburg), moderated by Omar Berrada.
Location: La Mamounia. Language: English


Sunday 25 February

14:30 – 15:30 Toward A Self-Image
How does one build a truthful, decolonised self-image? This conversation will raise issues of representation and self-representation, and explore how questions of culture and identity can be performed or given shape through artistic forms that are singular, subjective or intimate, be they drawn portraits or dancing bodies, with Zineb Benjelloun (artist and illustrator, Casablanca) and Elisabeth Efua Sutherland (choreographer and theatre director, Accra), moderated by Driss Ksikes (writer, Rabat).
Location: La Mamounia. Language: French & English


16:00 – 17:30 Moroccan Craft in the 21st Century
Artisans, who represent 20% of the Moroccan workforce, are too often constrained by a narrow range of products geared toward the tourist market. The Mahjouba Initiative, which aims to make artisanally-made motorbikes for the local market, is an ambitious attempt at reviving craft by exploring its relations to art, economics, and imagination. A panel discussion with Eric Van Hove (artist, Marrakech), Samya Abid (director, Atelier Eric van Hove), Driss Khrouz (economist, Rabat) and Driss Ksikes (writer, Rabat).
Location: La Mamounia. Language: French


18:30 – 21:00 The Struggle Is Not Over
Filipa César’s Spell Reel is a journey in which fragile film archives that testify to the birth of Guinean cinema, as part of the decolonising vision of Amílcar Cabral, become a prism from which to view the present. Digitised in Berlin and screened at various locations, the archive spurs debates, storytelling and forecasts. From screenings in isolated villages in Guinea-Bissau to European capitals, the silent reels are now a place from which people may search for antidotes to a world in crisis. A screening of Spell Reel (2017, 96’) followed by a discussion between Filipa César (artist, Berlin), Ruth Wilson Gilmore (geographer, Lisbon/New York) and Sana Na N’hada (filmmaker, Guinea-Bissau).
Location: LE 18. Language: French & English


More information about the exhibitors and artists at 1-54 Marrakech can be found here.

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