The challenges of maintaining local identity in international biennale exhibitions: Lessons from the third AiM arts in Marrakesh Biennale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Most biennials, an increasingly popular and visible form of city-based art exhibition, attempt to balance the demands and interests of the international art world with the identity and situation of the particular location. Using global artists, curators, and funding, as well as catering to a hypothetically global audience, makes it challenging to truly engage the local or speak to issues pertaining to the city. In this paper, I discuss the local interpretation of this important global art pattern. It focuses on the external and ex-patriot funding and organisation as well as the Moroccan, Rabat-based curator, considering the emphasis on place in the artistic projects, both in satellite works in international locations and the many installations dealing with the idea of borders. Finally, the paper explores the negative reaction of the Moroccan Ministry of Culture and the repercussions of sites used in Marrakesh, particularly the touristic hub of the Palais Bahia. This paper demonstrates how the exhibition focused on local interests while using the highly publicised international form of the biennale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-806
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of North African Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2013



  • Marrakesh
  • Morocco
  • art exhibitions
  • local-global
  • location and locality
  • tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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