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With the opening of Le Studio des Arts Vivants (the living arts studio), the first multi-discipline art space in Morocco, Casablanca is taking its place at the centre of the country’s contemporary art scene.

Jump in a red taxi and zip through Caza, as the locals call it, and Le Studio des Arts Vivants seems to magically appear, a shock of modern architecture between dusty palm trees. Built last year by Fihr Kettani, a Casablanca native, the aim of the studio is to bring all of the arts together under one roof and create bridges between the different disciplines. Students of all ages are taught music, art, dance and theatre from professionals from around the world and La Galerie 38, the 500m art gallery connected to the studio, supports local artists, like Radia Bent Lhoucine, a self-taught female painter of the 1960s, Edmond Amran El Maleh, a writer and critic, and Fatiha Zemmouri, a painter and sculptor whose work will be shown in December.

“We don’t only want to make art, we want to make cultural happenings,” said Mohamed Chaoui, a La Galerie 38 partner.

The art scene in Casablanca has been steadily growing since King Mohammed VI, an art enthusiast, began his reign in 1999. Originally focused on Orientalism, the focus then turned to Moroccan artists.

La Galerie 38 also strives to display new inspiration from the international art world. In August, they commissioned paintings from famous American street artist Alec Monopoly. His show will be presented this spring.

“Art in Morocco is just beginning to change, the state is giving it more importance,” Kettani said. “My goal is to give the country a platform for the detection of new talent. To support this new movement.” 

In their 600-seat theatre, Le Studio des Arts Vivants has weekly performances and the gallery features new exhibits six times a year. Visit their website and the gallery’s Facebook page for future events.


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