Arnakech is an attempt to put in perspective two points of view and experiences lived by the « people » of Jamaa El Fna square: the performer, or Hlayki, on the one hand, and the visitor, the passerby, on the other.

By adopting the codes of the square and subverting the protocols in the functioning of the installation, Arnakech was able to touch some points of tension in this sometimes conflictual, but nevertheless necessary relationship. The square cannot live without its performers and the Halqa cannot exist without its audience. Nonetheless, a set of practices and languages vis à vis foreigners have created a retrenchment and a position of closure towards the essence of what the square has historically and traditionally offered, namely human exchange.

I set up a (pop up) photographic studio in which I invited, in the manner of the « beaters » of Jemaa El Fna, tourists and other visitors to be portrayed, in order to leave a memory of their passage. As many of them often leaving with hundreds of photos of the ‘locals’, the procedure also aimed at producing a symbolic twist in the process of image making.

The contradictory, at times clashing dynamics shaping Marrakech, and the square as its epitome, are also mirrored in the very name of the intervention. Arnakech indeed being part of this specific vocabulary invented by discontented tourists or online guides to qualify the city that can be just as much an « exotic » dream as the traveler’s worst nightmare…

Protagonists : Kamal Dardiba, Walid Rakaiki, Ismail, Lamia Belodi , Ayoub Essafy, Laila Hida, Klara Gaia Chastan, Charlotte Arens & the visitors

Facilitator : Emmanuelle Jacquet, Association Ana Kanbri Jamaa Lfna, Francesca Masoero, Rim Mejdi.

Arnakech is a project proposed as part of Ch(a)rita, a programme curated by Madrassa Collective.

About the artist

Born and raised in Casablanca, Laila Hida has lived 10 years in France where she finished her eduction and worked as producer before returning to her home country Morocco in 2011, where she started an artistic practice as a photographer. Hida explores in her work the tensions between the narrative potential of the camera and the selective nature of memory. Her current project “Tout est temporaire” (« Everything is temporary ») builds upon her personal archives ways of approaching the presence and infinitude of the artistic work through time and space.  She has a several works of collaboration with designer Artc, together they created series of portraits and staged photography that reflects upon the esthetics of fashion imagery and construction of identities.

In 2013, Hida’s artist and entrepreur projects merged and materialized as she founded « LE 18, derb el ferrane », a multidisciplinary cultural space based in Marrakech.