1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Launches Project to Aid Earthquake-Stricken Morocco

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In the aftermath of the devastating 6.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Morocco’s core, the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is stepping up to support the disaster relief efforts. The earthquake, which occurred last Friday, has left approximately 3,000 people dead and over 5,000 injured, along with extensive damage to heritage sites, including the historic Marrakech medina.

The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, a leading platform for African artists and art dealers, is now spearheading a project to raise funds for on-the-ground disaster relief in the affected region. Their efforts are aimed at helping the affected communities, particularly those in the remote Atlas Mountains.

“We’re thankful to be able to say that, having spoken to our galleries, artists, and partners across the cultural scene and hospitality sector, everyone is safe,” stated Touria El Glaoui, the founding director of the fair. “Sadly, the earthquake has most directly affected more remote communities in the Atlas Mountains.”

The fair is collaborating with several local organizations, including the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, the Montresso* Art Foundation, the exhibition space Dada Marrakech, Musée Yves Saint Laurent, and the artist residency space Al Maqam. Together, they plan to support longer-term reconstruction efforts in the region.

However, the immediate focus of the project is to raise funds for disaster relief. The fair is in discussions with Moroccan artists to create a series of limited-edition prints. The proceeds from these prints will be donated to organizations working to support those most affected by the earthquake and to assist in the reconstruction of Marrakech in the months to come.

This year’s courtyard commission at the fair’s London edition will take on added significance in light of the earthquake. The commission, titled “Illuminate The Light,” is created by Marrakech-based artist Amine El Gotaibi and explores the concept of light in relation to the African continent. It will serve as a symbol of hope at the heart of the London 2023 fair.

In a statement, 1-54 urged tourists not to be deterred from visiting Morocco and experiencing its vibrant and diverse cultural scene. They emphasized that tourism would be crucial to the country’s economic recovery and noted that, despite the earthquake’s devastating impact, relief and reconstruction efforts are already underway, with much of Marrakech still standing.

The earthquake in Morocco has brought tragedy and destruction, but the resilience of the affected communities and the support from organizations like 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair offer hope for the future as the country works to rebuild and recover.

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