Art Moves Africa – Retracing Roots and Tracing New Routes: Mobility and Touring in North Africa

A study by Lara Bourdin for Art Moves Africa, October 2019

A study by Lara Bourdin for Art Moves Africa, October 2019

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82<br />

Country-Specific Information<br />

—<br />


—<br />

Visas<br />

· Several respondents noted the dramatic difficulty<br />

of obta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g visas to Schengen Europe:<br />

long process<strong>in</strong>g times, bureaucratic dem<strong>and</strong>s,<br />

frequent refusals <strong>and</strong>, <strong>in</strong> the event that the<br />

visa is granted, it is often for a pitifully short<br />

number of days.<br />

· Travel times to embassies <strong>in</strong> Rabat were also<br />

noted as a reason for frustration.<br />

· Travel to Egypt was noted as a grow<strong>in</strong>g area<br />

of difficulty.<br />

It’s become very difficult for young artists to enter<br />

Schengen Europe. Th<strong>in</strong>gs miraculously get much<br />

simpler when their artistic project is backed by<br />

a European state <strong>in</strong>stitution or when that <strong>in</strong>stitution<br />

takes ownership of the project. <strong>–</strong> Maria Daïf,<br />

<strong>in</strong>dependent cultural operator, Casablanca*<br />

Morocco / Algeria (see Algeria section)<br />

Neocolonialism / paternalism<br />

· Several respondents expressed the wish to<br />

have mobility opportunities outside of Europe,<br />

<strong>in</strong> light of old colonial/paternalistic relationships<br />

between France <strong>and</strong> Morocco <strong>and</strong> especially<br />

<strong>in</strong> light of their exacerbation <strong>in</strong> the form of visa<br />

policy.<br />

There is the legacy of colonialism <strong>–</strong> especially<br />

French <strong>–</strong> that we’d like to detach from. For example,<br />

the Moroccan adm<strong>in</strong>istrative system is<br />

partly modelled on the French system. We’d like<br />

to create our own models of development, our<br />

own way of do<strong>in</strong>g th<strong>in</strong>gs that fits our local reality. <strong>–</strong><br />

Am<strong>in</strong>a Mourid, Cultural operator, co-founder,<br />

Atelier Kissaria & Th<strong>in</strong>k Tanger*<br />

Geographic isolation<br />

· Several respondents noted Morocco’s geographical<br />

isolation as an impediment to mobility:<br />

with the Algerian border closed <strong>and</strong> the<br />

gates of Europe blocked to the <strong>North</strong>, Morocco<br />

is enclaved. To the South, Morocco controls<br />

the border with the portion of Western Sahara<br />

that is under Moroccan occupation.<br />

—<br />

M<br />

O<br />

R<br />

O<br />

C<br />

C<br />

O<br />

—<br />

· Morocco’s distance from the Middle East disconnects<br />

it from the lively scene <strong>and</strong> networks<br />

operat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> hubs such as Beirut, Amman,<br />

Ramallah <strong>and</strong> Cairo.<br />

Restrictions on freedom of expression<br />

· Civil society associations are active but rema<strong>in</strong><br />

subject to legal harassment, travel restrictions,<br />

<strong>and</strong> other forms of repression.<br />

· For example, an important signpost was the<br />

December 26 dissolution of cultural organization<br />

Rac<strong>in</strong>es, on charges of organiz<strong>in</strong>g an<br />

activity outside its scope of action <strong>and</strong> host<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a debate that was “prejudicial to the country’s<br />

<strong>in</strong>stitutions.”<br />

Language:<br />

· Moroccan artists apply<strong>in</strong>g for fund<strong>in</strong>g may f<strong>in</strong>d<br />

themselves restricted by language barriers.<br />

There’s a l<strong>in</strong>guistic conflict when it comes to [application]<br />

forms : Classical Arabic is <strong>in</strong>timidat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>and</strong> more <strong>and</strong> more young people are reject<strong>in</strong>g<br />

French. English needs to be more present if the<br />

goal is to reach young people. <strong>–</strong> Maria Daïf*<br />

Lack of identification to <strong>Africa</strong> <strong>and</strong> racism<br />

· Moroccans have had an uneasy relationship<br />

with <strong>Africa</strong>, which can express itself <strong>in</strong> racism.<br />

Pan-Arabism somewhat squ<strong>and</strong>ered <strong>Africa</strong>n<br />

identity; it has left Moroccans with a sense of non-<br />

<strong>Africa</strong>n-ness as well as a form of self-denigration<br />

towards their own popular culture, whereas the<br />

social reality is that <strong>Africa</strong> beg<strong>in</strong>s <strong>in</strong> Tangiers <strong>and</strong><br />

ends <strong>in</strong> Cape Town. It’s really <strong>in</strong> the head that it<br />

happens. There is also the question of Berberity<br />

here, because that is what carries <strong>Africa</strong>nness.<br />

Berberity is extraord<strong>in</strong>arily diverse. It’s a huge<br />

subject. <strong>–</strong> Hicham Bahou, Co-director of EAC-<br />

L’Boulvard, Casablanca*<br />

Morocco’s migratory policy is geared at <strong>in</strong>tegration;<br />

it is tak<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> refugees, people <strong>in</strong> transit,<br />

who are flee<strong>in</strong>g difficult realities. Socially, it’s<br />

creat<strong>in</strong>g a lot of <strong>in</strong>comprehension, question<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

<strong>in</strong> which culture is not play<strong>in</strong>g the role it should.<br />

Culture is supposed to be the cement for all<br />

these populations: we’re completely <strong>Africa</strong>n <strong>in</strong><br />

our musical <strong>and</strong> cultural heritage. <strong>–</strong> Ghita Kaldi,<br />

Director of Afrikayna, Casablanca*

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