Beyond Qafila Thania brings together researchers from Sudan, Morocco, Spain, Catalonia, Italy and the Netherlands researching in architecture, sociology and the visual arts actively approaching the cultural, social and geopolitical space of the Sahara desert. Tracing back the stories of the old caravans, learning about its influence in current day cultures and societies.
Beyond Qafila Thania facilitates an inspiring frame to exchange and research further on the participants on going projects focusing on topics such as contemporary nomad culture and architecture, current immigration routes, history of slave trade, race issues and trans-Saharan book trade and the mobility of Knowledges within the Mediterranean, Sahel and West Africa.
The participant artists and researchers selected to be part of Beyond Qafila Thania are Amado Alfadni (Sudan), M’barek Bouhchichi (Morocco), Pau Cata (Catalonia), Carlos Perez (Spain) and Heidi Vogels (The Netherlands). For the first stage of the project they will be joined by Olì Bonzanigo (Italy), Laila Hida (Morocco), Francesca Masoero (Italy) and Leire Vergara (Spain).
Beyond Qafila Thania is a collaboration between CeRCCa and the Moroccan organizations Marsad Drâa and Le18 through Platform HARAKAT, Project QAFILA and KIBRIT and is funded by SouthMed CV, a programme cofunded by the European Union within the framework of the regional programme MedCulture, Marsad Drâa, SGSAH and the Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya.
Amado Alfadni is an Egyptian-born Sudanese artist. His childhood was composed of two environments: the Cairene street and the Sudanese home. The relationship, and sometimes tension, between the two strongly influenced his view of both cultures. The need to express this dual perspective led him to make art initially and has informed his work since. His work discusses the relationship between the included and the excluded, and opens dialogue on issues of identity and politics. By working with forgotten historical events and current state policies, He raises questions of power dynamics between the individual and authority on a social and political level. His artistic practices have been driven into research and documentation of ignored historical events, especially colonial history and re-reading it from the perspective of the native. In his recent projects he focuses on the military slavery history and slavery caravans crossing the Sahara form Al Fasher (Sudan) to Asyut (Egypt) daarb el arba’en.
Using different mediums: paint, volume, drawing M'barek Bouhchichi dismantles the re- imagined narrative towards worlds and issues which call his tendencies. He places his works at the intersection of aesthetics, singular picturing, and social insights exploring areas of possible combinations as opportunities for personal re-writing.
The discovery of other fields and imaginary horizons is an essential issue in his artistic approach. M’barek Bouhchichi has gained, from one exhibition to another, a conscious plastic identity. Exhibiting in various galleries both in Morocco and abroad, makes his plastic work go beyond belonging to a single culture. The artist himself, driven by a universal vision, can not join his work into the boundary of one culture that would be exclusive of other cultures which the artist says owe recognition and gratitude to. His exhibitions openings can't go unnoticed. From Marrakech to Pontevedra and from Paris to Sao Paolo, the artist places his work under the plural and multifaceted look of art admirers, in return his work earns consistency and a constant urge into others to question the artistic practice of painting implemented by the artist and which was up to this point his own .
Pau Cata has been working in the cultural field as facilitator and curator for more than 10 years. He completed his degree in Contemporary History by the University of Barcelona in 2004 with awarded Erasmus in Italy and Greece. In the same year he moved to London where he worked at The British Museum and the White Cube Gallery. He has an MA in Critical Arts Management and Media Cultural Studies by LSBU. Since 2009 he is the founder director of CeRCCa, Center for Research and Creativity Casamarles, an AIR Program and research center outside of Barcelona. As part of his job he has been involved in numerous research projects in the field of artists mobility and Artists in Residence Programs. He is currently a PhD candidate at University of Edinburgh and co-coordinator of NACMM - North Africa Cultural Mobility Map/Platform HARAKAT and KIBRIT.
Carlos Perez Marin is graduated from the Architecture School in Seville, Spain, in 1997, he founded his own office based in Ceuta where he has developed projects in Spain, France and Morocco, related to urban planning, landscape, housing, culture, civil engineering, office, education, heritage... He collaborates assiduously with artists, like Younes Rahmoun, developing art installations. In 2013 he founded Marsad Drâa, an observatory for Moroccan desert regions, researching on heritage, architecture, urban planning, energy efficiency, desertification, contemporary art, anthropology... Since 2015 he co-organises Caravane Tighmert, a contemporary creation laboratory for oasian cultures. He has been Assistant Professor at the National School of Architecture in Tetouan (2010-2013) and at the National Institut of Fine Arts in Tetouan (2017).
Heidi Vogels (1978) is an artist, filmmaker and organiser, based in Amsterdam. In her artistic work she applies photography, film and other forms of research by seeking to redefine the outlook on our day-to-day reality and surroundings. By engaging in projects within a certain place or context for a longer period of time (sometimes years), she constructs an intimate ‘world’ of relations between thought, encounters and situations. Hence rooted in a solid conceptual basis, her work consists of multi-layered stories, shifting between the domains of art, cinema and theory. Since 2011 she works in Fez, Morocco - a research and film project about the space of the garden (currently in the final stages of editing) and pursues further steps in her work to open up the garden as a productive concept.
CeRCCa, the Center for Research and Creativity Casamarles is an organization created in 2009 and based in a small village south of Barcelona (Catalonia/Spain). The organization works with a double strategy. On one hand it offers international artists and researchers a space to work and live for 2 months.
Since 2009 more than 100 artists have benefit from CeRCCa AIR developing projects on history, ecology, urban space, landscape and memory in collaboration with the local community. On the other hand CeRCCa develops collaborative curatorial and research projects with a special focus on intercultural dialogue in the Mediterranean region. Some of these projects are NACMM_North Africa Cultural Mobility Map, ‘The Art of Getting Lost’ or Platform HARAKAT. In orther to develope these projects CeRCCa has the support of Anna Lindh Foundation, South Med CV and Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya and has been selected to participate in EYE, Dawrak and Tandem Shaml programs.
MARSAD DRÂA is a group of university students and professionals from Morocco and abroad, having as objective to learn and to research on lifestyles and cultures of the desert regions, promoting and preserving tangible and intangible heritage from a contemporary perspective. Due to the complexity of the topics, teams use to work in a transdisciplinary way (architects, artists, engineers, biologists, sociologists, historians, archaeologists ...).
Marsad Drâa organise since 2015 Caravane Tighmert, a laboratory for contemporary oasian culture with artists residencies. In 2016, MARSAD DRÂA started Project Qafila.
Named after the word movements in Arabic, Platform HARAKAT embodies the inherent contradictions of travelling : movements occur despite and because of a paradox simultaneously promoting, impeding, and forcing mobility. From a situated and cross-disciplinary perspective, Platform HARAKAT proposes to retrace the past and contemporary mobility of knowledge(s), bodies and practices focusing in the Mediterranean, Sahel and West Africa. The purpose of Platform HARAKAT is to reflect upon different approximations to the journey , the heritage of its traditions and its erasures. Platform HARAKAT wants to set in motion concepts and practices derived from mobility and its shadows, to document forgotten histories and invisible stories and to stress the important connections that shape these territories, while providing a space for critical reflection and action.
In order to do so, Platform HARAKAT constitutes itself through an online portal gathering a selection of resources branched in four different categories: Knowledges, Tools, Cartographies and Actions and develops through collaborative research, creative cartographies, curatorial projects, a series of publications and a web platform.
Project QAFILA is a research platform on Saharan caravans founded by Marsad Drâa that develops a series of practical researches on caravans with several aims: to learn about nomad ways of life nowadays, to walk through the routes used by caravans from the 8th to the 20th centuries in Morocco, to explore the landscapes of the south of Morocco, to experience the relativity of time and space in the desert. Qafila Oula was the first caravan organized in October 2016, from Rissani to M’hamid El Ghizlane (300km), connecting the old cities of Sijilmasa and Taragalte. Beyond Qafila Thania is a continuation of Qafila Oula.
KIBRIT is a collaborative research and production program dedicated to contemporary artistic and curatorial practices engaged in processes of reactivation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and collective memory. Involving all its members and their respective local communities, the program aims at fostering sustainable synergies through the exchange of practices and knowledges while generating critical reflection, research and action. KIBRIT is a program initiated and curated by LE 18 (Marrakech), Atelier de l’Observatoire (Casablanca), Maison de l’Image (Tunis), CeRCCa (Barcelona), Rhizome (Algiers), Jiser (Barcelona/Tunis) and Ramallah Municipality (Ramallah).