Artists, Film Makers and Musicians from UK came to the Sahara Desert, Morocco to collaborate with local artists from Zagora, Morocco in a one-week residency and three day festival.
Zagora is the last city before the Sahara Desert. With limited access to technology the abundance of traditional art and crafts are the key form of communication, through advertisement of popular brands to maps painted on walls and music being the main form of entertainment and spiritual communication.
Five British Musicians participated in a structured two-week program with Moroccan traditional and contemporary musicians.
This cultural sound exchange created an alternative and an exciting mix of music for both countries. There was a strong emphasis on creative process and professional development.
As a result, British and Moroccan applicants attained a greater confidence in cross-cultural collaboration, in adapting to new working environments and in understanding otherwise inaccessible techniques.
Four practicing and young professional British Artists collaborated with six Moroccan artists. They were encouraged to develop work that reflects their personal practice and to participate fully within the two-week exchange. A collaborative 'final piece' of artwork was achieved at the end of the two-week residency along with independent works inspired by the Artists’ surroundings.
And’Art acted as an opportunity for Artists to develop their professional practice through interaction with, and learning from, local artists and makers. The Artists were expected to collaborate and develop upon their existing skills as well as utilizing new and alternative techniques. We particularly looked at crafts-based artists, painters and video artists, where layering of works were a possibility.
Artists were given the opportunity to visit other artists’ studios and were encouraged to source local materials throughout the residency.
Educational Workshops and Social Development
The residency and workshops took place for 12 days in the theatre space/art gallery in Zagora. During this time art and music workshops were facilitated by the coordinators and artists with the young people of Zagora.
These workshops were 2 hour sessions throughout the residency which engaged young people with the Artists’ and Musicians’ work. The workshops led to musical compositions and a rap video. Their works were showcased during the three-day festival.
After completing the two-week workshop, the participants were involved in a three-day ‘free’ festival held in the centre of Zagora. The Festival showcased the Artists’ and Musicians’ work that was produced within the two-week residency. This included collaborative art works and musical compositions, as well as individual and solo works.
The Musicians performed the compositions that they had produced during the two-week workshop. They also had the opportunity to perform their own music independently.
The Artists created a collaborative artwork that demonstrated technique and subject matter relevant to the surroundings. The festival site included a theatre and an art gallery. The participants exhibited/constructed artwork in the art gallery. This collaborative final work was an adorned palm enriched with symbols from the artist’s surroundings. The exhibition was open throughout the three-day festival.
The artists also had the opportunity to collaborate with the musicians. For example, one participant used time-based photography to create a 10 minute performance/film. Music enhanced the atmosphere of the artwork and tied together the artist’s and musician’s vision of Zagora.
Zagora is a developing city in the desert of Morocco. We aspired to engage the Moroccan artists’ talents with Britain, therefore building a wider reputation for them, creating cultural awareness as well as commercial benefits. We wanted to develop audience participation by offering a free festival to those that have limited access to artist communities.