Bright Abstraction

Casablanca’s Gift to Marrakech and the Birth of Morocco’s Modern Art Movement by Maya Jaggi

Fifty years ago, in the Atlas mountain city of Marrakech, a group of leading Moroccan artists hung their dazzlingly experimental abstract paintings in the Jemaa el-Fna, the great market square in the oasis city at the crossroads of Saharan trade routes … Their aim was to reach the “average person” in the square, “to awaken his curiosity, his critical spirit, to stimulate him so that he integrates new plastic expressions into the rhythm of his life, into his daily space”—expressions that included forms of geometric abstraction that chimed with both a transnational avant-garde movement and the tradition of popular arts within Morocco.