Since opening with little fanfare in November 2016, the Marrakech-based Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) has attracted 5,000 visitors. 

Following the non-profit museum’s international launch in February timed to the Marrakech debut edition of 1-54, the art fair dedicated to contemporary African art, that figure is expected to rise sharply. 


GEORGE LILANGA, SHETANIS AUX ENFANTS, 2003. COURTESY THE MACAAL.

Currently on display are selections from Macaal’s collection of Modern and contemporary African art, which has been amassed over the past 40 years by Alami Lazraq, a Moroccan property magnate, and his son, Othman. “African art has become extremely popular internationally, but in Africa there’s definitely a lack of infrastructure, particularly when it comes to contemporary art,” says Macaal president Othman Lazraq. 


SOLY CISSÉ, SANS TITRE, 2010. COURTESY THE MACAAL.

Also on view is a group show of photography, including works by Congolese artist Sammy Baloji and Moroccan photographer Leila Alaoui, who died following a terrorist attack in 2016. “Macaal is a platform for African artists to be shown to Africans,” says Lazraq, noting that attitudes are changing across the region: “People understand that art is a vector of good health for the country.” 

 

Africa Is No Island, MACAAL, Marrakech, through 24 August.