First Farid Belkahia Prize for the encouragement of traditional arts

Exhibition from December 21, 2019.

Tradition is the future of man.
Farid Belkahia

Farid Belkahia (1934-2014) was deeply attached to traditional Moroccan arts. Since his appointment at the head of the School of Fine Arts in Casablanca in 1962, Farid Belkahia advocates a new vision of the transmission of art based on the reappropriation of traditional arts and their regeneration, a process he applies to his own work and to that of students, thus suggesting the liberation of modernity from a dominant model. He devotes to this major issue a special publication under the title of Maghreb Art. It is noted in the first issue that “the artistic heritage of Morocco is poorly known as a whole and it was not until the opening of the modern sensibility that we have been able to appreciate its true value.”
Since then, Farid Belkahia has been constantly revisiting Moroccan craft traditions and exploring the potential of her skills.

It was therefore natural for the Farid Belkahia Foundation to have a distinction honoring the passion of this charismatic artist for the artistic heritage of his native land. Thus is born the Farid Belkahia Prize for the encouragement of traditional arts which aims to highlight and support the emerging talents of the crafts.
The Farid Belkahia Prize for the Promotion of the Traditional Arts rewards a young professional for the quality of his project, his commitment to the transmission of knowledge or his innovation.
The first prize Farid Belkahia for the encouragement of traditional arts 2019 rewards Zineb Akabbouch and Abdellah Ouabderrahmane.
This prize offers each of the two laureates an endowment of 25,000 dirhams which will be awarded on 21 December 2019 at 6 pm at the Farid Belkahia Foundation.
The first prize Farid Belkahia for the encouragement of traditional arts 2019 is organized in collaboration with the Academy of Traditional Arts of Casablanca and in partnership with the OCP and the Fondation Banque Populaire.

Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum

December 21th, 2019 at 18H


Exhibition from October 26 to December 14, 2019.

Hassan Hajjaj

The Farid Belkahia Foundation, as part of its annual program giving carte blanche to a contemporary artist, is pleased to welcome this autumn the multidisciplinary artist Hassan Hajjaj, and invites him to invest the halls of the Mathaf museum to display many of his works, consisting of photographs but also derived objects, such as carpets, furniture and clothing, which are an integral part of his artistic universe.

Born in 1961 in Larache, Morocco and a Londoner since 1973, Hassan Hajjaj has lived and worked since then between his native country and Great Britain.

His migratory journey and his cultural nomadism have had a significant impact on his creations, all of multicultural inspiration: his photographs borrow freely from African studios of yesteryear their aesthetic codes, from Pop Art the use of visual elements of consumer society, and from contemporary fashion photography its luxury standards.

In 2006, Hassan Hajjaj opened in the medina of Marrakech a kind of factory called Riad Yima which serves as workshop for creations, presentations and musical performances.

He has become widely known for his brightly coloured portraits with colourful patterned backgrounds, in raised frames made from Moroccan consumer goods, combining all these elements into a coherent and pleasing artistic ensemble.

Hassan Hajjaj has won international recognition for his singular style and his original artistic approach which consists of decompartmentalizing modes of expression, mixing artistic influences and creating bridges between cultures.


Born in Larache, Morocco in 1961, Hassan Hajjaj moved to London as a teenager.

In the 80’s he set up R.A.P., his fashion label. Upcycled and customized creations initiate his artistic narrative, weaving native and encountered influences.

Turning to photography, Hajjaj uses portraits to celebrate his friends and role models, offering a stage documenting his surrounding cultures. Through his more recent video works, he has added movement to these still images.

Besides the contained medium of photography his work of design, direction and composition also takes form in his site-specific “Le Salon” installation and immersive curated exhibitions “Mi Casa Su Casa”.

Hassan became Officer of the Wissam Al Moukafaa Al Wataniya order in 2016. His work is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA; Newark Museum, New Jersey USA; LACMA: Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; Farjam Collection, Dubai ,UAE; ICI: Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris, France; Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.; Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunisia; MAXXI: Museum of Arts of the XXI century, Rome, Italy; MACAAL: Musée d’Art Contemporain Africain Al Maaden, Marrakesh Morocco; NGV: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, and more.

The artist lives and works between London and Marrakesh.


Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum

From October 26th to December 14th, 2019


Exhibition from June 4 to July 13, 2019.

As part of its artistic program, the FFB is pleased to present an exhibition in its museum Mathaf Farid Belkahia devoted to the photographic works of Fouad Maazouz on Farid Belkahia and his universe.
By opening to him the doors of his workshop in Marrakech, Farid Belkahia developed with the photographer, over time, a long-term complicity and collaboration.
From those sessions were born photographs on the universe of Farid Belkahia filled with emotion. Fouad Maazouz managed to capture the atmosphere of the workshop and the creative process of the artist, his imagination and his family intimacy.
Photographs taken often on the spot, the famous “decisive moment” dear to Henri Cartier-Bresson and which, beyond their undeniable aesthetic qualities, transmit us information on the environmental context of Farid Belkahia and constitute a precious visual memory of his studio, all necessary for the knowledge of the history of art.
Biography : Fouad Maazouz
Born in 1977 in Casablanca, Fouad Maazouz lives and works between Morocco and Europe
It was during his studies as a graphic designer, who took him to Germany, France, Switzerland and the United States, that he became passionate about photography. From then on, he no longer separates from his camera and follows a solid studies and training in photography.
This photography enthusiast practices both reportage and creative photography to represent, in a personal style, his emotions, his feelings, his vision of the world and life.
Fouad Maazouz has received several national and international awards, and participates in many exhibitions of contemporary photography in Europe, Africa and the Arab world.

Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum
from june 4th to july 13th 2019

Homage to the arrow

Exhibition from June 3 to July 13, 2019.

In 1974, after experimenting with several materials, Farid Belkahia opted for working on lamb skin, which he softens and refines like a parchment, stretching it on a wooden framework with symbolic and totemic cuts. It is on this skin that he will expresses his plastic, metaphysical and ritual language of the body, forgotten or censored, that the artist places in a contemporary problematic.
The arrow, one of the signs of predilection of the artist, is called upon in relation to the dialectic of the male and female principles. As it doubles the work surface, it inspires the idea of a synthesis of different universal forms. The arrow immediately evokes the notion of the vertical and horizontal where the standing being aspires to an entry to the sky.
The arrow is linked to magic as well, its shape being similar to that of a snake –the limit of the licit and desirable between male and female.
Biography of Farid Belkahia
From 1955 to 1959, he pursued his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was then trained from 1959 to 1962 in the art of decorating stages at the Prague Theater Institute. In 1965-66, he perfected his apprenticeship at the Brera Academy in Milan.
Returning to Morocco, Farid Belkahia served as director of the School of Fine Arts in Casablanca from 1962 to 1974. After a period of figurative painting, he oriented his art towards more geometric patterns and diversified the supports of his painting. Unconventional, tracing the path of modern Moroccan art, his works on skin are essential in the Moroccan contemporary painting.
His works have integrated prestigious collections including the Quai Branly Museum, the Institute of the Arab World, the Kunst Crystal Museum, the British Museum…

Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum
from june 4th to july 13th 2019

« Farid Belkahia and the Casablanca School of Fine Arts 1962-1974 »

Exhibition from December 21, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

This exhibition proposes to highlight a crucial period in Farid Belkahia’s journey and his quest for artistic modernity in Morocco. The one where he directed the Casablanca School of Fine Arts from 1962 to 1974 and transformed it into an incubator of ideas to bring out a modern artistic creation rooted in local culture and emancipated from academic artistic practices. An experience he conducted with the support and active involvement of his fellow travellers, namely the two artists Mohamed Melehi and Mohamed Chabaa, art historian Toni Marini and anthropologist Bert Flint. Together, they will initiate an innovative pedagogy based on experimentation, research and publication.
As Toni Marini wrote:
“To understand Farid’s work, we must remember what this period of bubbling and artistic renewal meant for him, and the lively debates among artists on what could be an art that was both national and international, Moroccan and universal.”
The tour of this exhibition will show, for the first time, Farid Belkahia’s works made on copper, a material widely used in traditional arts that he adopted after abandoning the practice of easel painting in 1962. The works of his expressionist period will be engraved or executed in bas-relief on copper plates and reveal a progressive transition from a previous artistic practice to this new medium that he has reclaimed and put at the service of contemporary creation.
The works of his friends and accomplices Mohamed Melehi and Mohamed Chabaa, as well as those of Mohamed Hamidi, Romain Atala, Mustapha Hafid and André Elbaz, from the 1960s and 1970s will also be presented. The works of their disciples Malika Agueznay, Abdallah El Hariri, Abdelkrim Ghattas, Abderrahman Rahoule and Houssein Miloudi will complete this tour.
Finally, to evoke the historical context of this experience, archive documents, iconography and publications of the time will be presented.
A catalogue of the exhibition will also be published on this occasion.
The curators of the exhibition:
– Ms. Rajae Benchemsi
– Mr. Brahim Alaoui
Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum
From December 21, 2018 to March 31, 2019

The opening of the exhibition will take place on December 21, 2019 at the Farid Belkahia Foundation.


Exhibition from October 20 to November 17, 2018.

The Farid Belkahia Foundation gives carte blanche to the artist Mohamed El Baz
As part of its annual program, the Farid Belkahia Foundation is opening up to contemporary art by inviting an experienced artist to dialogue with the works of the deceased artist.
For its first edition, the Farid Belkahia Foundation gives carte blanche to the artist Mohamed El Baz, who invests both the Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum and the garden and conference room by installing his polymorphic works designed especially for this event.
El Baz sets up installations in these three spaces that create a subtle complicity with Farid Belkahia’s work.
In the foundation’s garden, El Baz installs L’Arbre techno, a monumental metal sculpture on an artificial hill that resonates with the surrounding nature and trees so dear to Farid Belkahia and often inspiring his work.
The “Diwan Al Majalis” conference room is transformed into a “dead class”, an immersive, visual and acoustical installation featuring children’s voices recorded in the class of the artist Mbarek Bouhchichi in the college where he teaches in Tahanaout. All in a nod to the concern for the transmission of knowledge that occupied the mind of the artist during his existence.
At the entrance to the museum is the portrait of Farid Belkahia on fire, in accordance with the series of images in flames created by Mohamed El Baz. On the floor of the museum a large puzzle map of Morocco has been placed. An evocation of Belkahia’s passion for Moroccan culture and a lucid look at his country.
In this artistic confrontation, Mohamed El Baz manages to engage in a fine dialogue with Farid Belkahia’s work as he develops his own, constantly reinvented by bringing new challenges.

Mohamed El Baz is one of the few artists of his generation with a strong visual culture and artistic maturity that reflects his intellectual journey, rooted in the world around him. Born in the Franco-Moroccan diaspora and living between Casablanca and Lille, Mohamed El Baz, through his presence at the interface of two cultures, has contributed to the evolution of artistic practices in the emerging generation of Moroccan artists.

Mohamed El Baz is a graduate of the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris-Cergy and the Institut des hautes études en arts plastiques. Since 1993, his work has developed under the generic title “Bricoler l’incurable”. Each project is a fragment of an ensemble in the making. Mohamed El Baz uses for his installations photos, videos, and objects that he organizes according to the moment, the space, and the context. Detail to detail, projects are developed as they progress, as if waiting for a gathering. The artist is aware that we cannot have a global, unitary understanding of things. For him, the variations of the work “Bricoler l’incurable” are a sort of identity under construction through a perpetual work on oneself and in relation to the world.


Exhibition from September 15 to October 13, 2018 at the Farid Belkahia Foundation.

As part of its socio-educational program and in collaboration with its official partner, the “OCP Group”, the Farid Belkahia Foundation will award on September 15th, 2018, the “Farid Belkahia Prize” to encourage young Moroccan painters and stimulate young people’s interest in painting and contemporary arts.
For this first edition, the members of the FFB’s scientific committee, Jean Hubert Martin, Brahim Alaoui and Rajae Benchemsi, after examining several dossiers from the Casablanca and Tetouan schools of fine arts, unanimously decided to award the first “Farid Belkahia Prize” to the young winner of the Tetouan National Institute of Fine Arts, Omayma El Guerssifi.
This prize, which consists of a cheque for 50,000.00 Dirhams and an exhibition at the “Diwan Al Majalis” room, will be awarded to the artist in the presence of the press and the heads of the two institutions.
On this occasion, the artist will be able to present his work and answer questions from the newspapers and the public.
Before the opening, the President of the FFB, Mrs. Rajae Benchemsi, will present the objectives of the Farid Belkahia Foundation’s socio-educational policy.


On the occasion of the sacred month of Ramadan, the Farid Belkahia Foundation is organizing on Saturday, May 26th, 2018, in the conference room Diwan al Majalis, a conference-debate on the major role of Adab and Islamic Arts in the Sufi tradition.
Great specialists, Abdelilah Benarafa and Thami Harrak, will discuss the literary tradition in the tasawwuf, and Jaafar Kansoussi and Muhammad Vâlsan will speak on architecture and the book arts.
The conference will be followed by a Samaa concert with the Thami Harrak Group.


The Farid Belkahia Foundation, in collaboration with its official partner, the OCP Group, is organizing the signing of two recent publications (bilingual French-English):

“Farid Belkahia or Art at liberty”, in co-publication with Skira Paris, which includes the presentations of the conference “Farid Belkahia in Art History and Museums: Inventory and Perspectives”, organized on the occasion of the inauguration of the Foundation and the Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum.

– Brahim Alaoui: Art historian and curator
– Jean-Hubert Martin: Art historian and curator
– Michel Gauthier: Curator at the Centre Pompidou
– Morad Montazami: Curator at the Tate Modern Gallery in London
– Moulim El Aroussi: Philosopher, writer and curator
– Toni Maraini: Writer, poet, essayist, critic and art historian
– Hamid Triki: Historian
– Rajae Benchemsi: Poetess, novelist, writer and art critic

“Farid Belkahia: The Inter-world or the symbolism of the tree”, published by the Farid Belkahia Foundation. On the occasion of COP22, two exhibitions on the theme of the tree in the work of Farid Belkahia were organized at the Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum to highlight the importance of the theme in this artist’s work since the 1960s.
This publication is based on the presentations of the conference organized for this purpose ” The Inter-world or the symbolism of the tree in the work of Farid Belkahia”.

– Brahim Alaoui: Art historian and curator
– Rajae Benchemsi: Poetess, novelist, writer and art critic
– Alexander Kazerouni: Political scientist specialising in the contemporary Muslim world
– Farid Zahi: Writer
– Mostafa Nissabouri: Writer
– Muhammad Vâlsan: Writer

The signature will take place on Saturday, April 07th, 2018 at 4pm in the “Diwan al Majalis” conference room of the Farid Belkahia Foundation in the presence of some of these authors.

«The Inter-world or the symbolism of the tree in the work of Farid Belkahia»

From 13th to November 13th, 2017 at the Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum, Marrakech

As a pioneer of contemporary and modern art in Morocco, Farid Belkahia became early on an engaged ambassador of the Moroccan artistic continuity. Bridging living tradition and modernity was the center of his thought.

Under the High Patronage of His Majesty the King Mohamed VI, the Farid Belkahia Foundation was founded in March 2015 and inaugurated on February 12th of 2016.

Located in the north of the Palmeraie, in the middle of lush vegetation, the Farid Belkahia Foundation makes it finally possible to follow the path spanning more than sixty years of an artist represented currently in numerous national and international museums as well as in many private collections and foundations.

Among the members of the Farid Belkahia Foundation are several art historians, researchers and international art curators. Its main goal is highlighting the artist’s work. It also aims to provide research or support fellowships to young art designers or art critics through providing them with a pavilion within the foundations, access to the artist’s personal library and other documents. A Farid Belkahia Excellence Award will be awarded to a craftsman as a tribute to the great interest he had for traditional arts.

The Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum inaugurated on the same date within the artist’s workshop was created to give visibility of his works through a permanent exhibition room, a temporary exhibition space with paintings renewed every six months, a room called “The artist’s living memory” which is kept in its original state and a photo gallery.

“Diwan Al Majalis” is an art deco rotunda located in the center of the garden which was designed to host seminars, conferences as well as music concerts.

The tree theme in the work of Farid Belkahia.

As a vanguard environmentalist, Farid Belkahia broke with chemical products in the seventies and worked only with natural pigments and minerals. To celebrate this aspect of his work, the Farid Belkahia Foundation organized an exhibit entitled “L’arbre à palabres” during the COP 22 climate conference on November 9th, 2016.

In order to better understand this theme and allow a better visibility to the interest that this artist gave to the tree and to nature in general, the Farid Belkahia Foundation now presents “The Inter-world”, a new exhibit particularly dedicated to the tree symbolism as it relates to man and to universal signs. A seminar on the topic will take place at the “Diwan al Majalis”.

Exhibit Curators:

-Brahim Alaoui

-Rajae Benchemsi


Rajae Benchemsi, “The tree in the works of Farid Belkahia”
Mustapha Nissabouri, “The passion of the tree in Farid Belkahia’s work”
Alexandre Kazérouni, “The animality of the tree in Farid Belkahia’s work”
Farid Zahi, “The imaginal Tree: Thoughts on Farid Belkahia”
Muhammad Vâlsan, “The tree symbolism”

Rajae Benchemsi, April 2017

«The Tree of Palaver»

«Actually, the tree is like a man».
Farid Belkahia

Opening on November 9, 2016.

To the occasion of the COP 22 event in Marrakesh, the Farid Belkahia Foundation organizes an exhibition called « L’arbre à Palabres » starting November 9th 2016 at 6pm at the Farid Belkahia Mathaf on the theme of the Tree, which was a major component of his artwork.
Early ecologist, Farid Belkahia decided to leave oil painting in the 1970s and shifted to natural materials popular in traditional arts, namely copper and skin, on which he will use natural pigments.
Fascinated by nature, Farid Belkahia made of it a source of inspiration. The tree, always stylized, would take the shape of a cube, a triangle, a cross and, frequently, a circle.
The first time he painted a forest was in 1963. All along his career he kept coming back to the theme of the tree making it the object of poetic, philosophical and spiritual exploration. His passion for the tree led him to consider it in all its dimensions, with an special emphasis on its symbolism.
Rajae Benchemsi
President of the Farid Belkahia Foundation

« Farid Belkahia in art history and museums: state of t art and perspectives »

Inauguration of the Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum on February 12, 2016
1st International Symposium on the work of Farid Belkahia on February 13, 2016.

«Modernity is only perceptible through the assimilation of ancient values».
Farid Belkahia (1934/2014)

The Farid Belkahia Foundation announces the inauguration of the Mathaf Farid Belkahia Museum on Friday, February 12, 2016. For one year, the Museum will host an exhibition retracing the different periods and artistic influences of his work, with a broad overview of his multiple artistic expressions and the variety of media and materials he has used during his career.

Created in March 2015 and dedicated to the promotion of Farid Belkahia’s work, the Foundation is also organizing an international symposium on Saturday, February 13, 2016 in Marrakech under the theme: “Farid Belkahia in art history and museums: state of play and perspectives”.
Farid Belkahia, one of the founders of modern and contemporary art and icon of the cultural revolution in Morocco, has left his mark on the artistic scene by focusing his research on the relationship between primordial tradition and modernity, particularly through universal signs.
Many national and international personalities such as His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani, Jack Lang and Gilles Keppel will pay tribute to Farid Belkahia. Also present will be Mehdi Qotbi, Director of the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat and representatives of the Mathaf Museum: Art Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Gallery in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Great intellectuals such as Brahim Alaoui, Moulime Laaroussi, Jean-Hubert Martin and Hamid Triki will also be part of this cultural event.

Farid Belkahia
Born in Marrakech in 1934, the late Farid Belkahia began exhibiting at the age of 15. In 1955, he went to Paris where he continued his studies at the Ecole des beaux-arts. Then in Prague where he studied scenography at the Theatre Academy.
A pioneer of contemporary and modern Moroccan art, the late Farid Belkahia became very early, with pride and commitment, an ambassador for Morocco’s artistic continuity, making the relationship between primordial tradition and modernity his main focus.
In 1962 he was appointed director of the School of Fine Arts of Casablanca and very quickly established the teaching of traditional Moroccan arts in order to reintegrate the Moroccan identity, weakened by the protectorate, into the academic teaching of the arts.
In 1969, his first experience of street art: he organized a major exhibition in Jamaa-El-Fna Square in Marrakech.
Throughout his career, marked by an artistic production as eclectic as it is prolific, he revolutionized contemporary Arab and Islamic art and established himself as an international artist recognized by many collectors and museums both in the Arab world and in Europe.
The late Farid Belkahia was also a major contributor to the iconic magazine “Souffles” alongside Mustapha Nissaboury, Mohamed Melehi, Mohamed Chebaâ and Abdelatif Laâbi.
About the Farid Belkahia Foundation
Dictated by the scope of Farid Belkahia’s work and its impact on the national and international artistic scene, the creation of the Farid Belkahia Foundation in March 2015 also stems from the own will of this immense artist who died on September 25th, 2014. As a prolific and generous artist, Farid Belkahia expressed during his lifetime the desire to share his artistic legacy with future generations.
In keeping with the spirit of Farid Belkahia, the eponymous Foundation aims to perpetuate the influence of his work by maximizing its visibility, but also by encouraging research on his various influences and significant periods. It also aims to promote creation in all artistic fields.
The Belkahia Foundation, chaired by the writer Rajae Benchemsi, is made up of historians, researchers and exhibition curators… It is planned to award annual prizes for excellence, scholarships for studies, research or support for the work of young creators as well as the organization of national and international exhibitions and the production of publications, catalogues and documentary films to ensure the continuity of Farid Belkahia’s work.