Youmein Creative Media Festival: 48 Hours in July

July 16-17, 2016

We were thrilled to co-host the second edition of the Youmein Creative Media Festival this past weekend, from July 16-17. The Youmein Festival brought together artists and creative thinkers from across Morocco, France, the United States, Belgium, and Palestine to discuss and produce art centering around the topic of “crisis” or “أزمة”. Artists were challenged to create pieces reflecting on “crisis” within the 48-hour timespan of the Festival.

On Saturday members of Youmein, TALIM, and the public convened for a roundtable discussion featuring Driss Ksikes, a Moroccan journalist and playwright, and Hicham Bouzid, co-director of Arty Farty’s Think Tanger project.

(l-r) Hicham Bouzid, Driss Ksikes, George Bajalia. All photos by Omar Chennai
(l-r) Hicham Bouzid, Driss Ksikes, George Bajalia. All photos by Omar Chennai

The presenters initiated the discussion with their own ideas and perspectives, and the audience participated with discussion and questions. The interactive panel discussion took place in a multitude of languages, Darija, French and English, reflecting the diversity of knowledge and experiences of the participants.

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Legation Literacy Classroom Studio Space
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Art Studios

In the afternoon, Youmein artists divided into groups and began crafting their pieces for the showcase. Each group worked in a separate location across Tanger: here, at the Legation, Riad Sultan at the Kasbah Museum, Border Independent Art Factory, and Technopark-Tanger. All locations were open to the public for viewing to continue the dialogue and engagement between the artists and spectators.

The following day, Youmein artists continued to work on their creative pieces contemplating “crisis.” Their hard work culminated in a public showcase at Border Independent Art Factory that evening. Walking into the space, an aura of intense expression was immediately palpable, only intensified by the unpainted walls, cement floors and of the cafe. Throughout the former factory space, several medias of art were on display visible; from an interactive written word and cartography piece on the windows overlooking the port to a striking photograph collection.

Theatre, slam poetry, public readings, and dance took over as the night went on, with performing artists reacting to the installations of their fellow-artists and the assembled public. Artists intermingled with Tanjawis, foreign workers and a few tourists who had wandered into the event. The night ended with brief remarks by the co-producers of the festival and its sponsors, including Borderline Theatre Project founders George Bajalia (Morocco Fulbright Alumni and Columbia University PhD candidate in anthropology) and Tom Casserly (Producer, “Fun Home”), and American Language Center-Tangier director Mark Holbrook and ALC cultural coordinator Zakaria Alilech.

Thanks to Julide Iye for writing this summary.

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