Simon Griffee

Photo Project Breaks Barriers in Morocco

3 January 2014

Nicolai Hartvig:

bq.. MARRAKESH — On a recent morning here at the new Marrakesh Museum of Photography and Visual Art, several women in colorful niqabs strode up to see images of themselves on a wall of 78 portraits taken by the American photographer Susan Meiselas. Some laughed and took pictures of each other with the art. Others hugged the photographer, who was present. And one woman, upon finding her sister’s portrait, protested that the picture should be removed.

The portraits are part of a project conceived by the Magnum cooperative and the museum — a three-month-old institution whose permanent building is scheduled to open in 2016 — in a country where photography is viewed with suspicion.

The MMPVA has set up inside the historic El Badi Palace, in a space granted rent-free for five years by the Moroccan minister of culture, Mohamed Sbihi, on the simple condition that it keeps mounting exhibitions.

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