During the first two weeks of April, the city of Casablanca, Morocco will become a haven for public art. The Billboard Festival, an art festival of epic proportions, will take over 63 billboards throughout the city to showcase photography produced by 63 female contemporary Moroccan and Scandinavian artists.
Student artwork by women artists from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts of Copenhagen and the École Superieure des Beaux Arts of Casablanca will also be shown throughout the streets of the white city. The 118-foot frames, usually used for advertisements, provide a powerful medium for conveying art -- particularly in Casablanca, where it will allow "for a larger audience composed of millions of citizens, car drivers, pedestrians, tram riders, inclusive of all ages and genders, to be exposed to contemporary art,” the festival organizers declared in a press release. Though the exhibition launches tomorrow, those who can’t make it to Morocco can check out the festival's website, which shows the geotagged location of each artwork, along with the name of the artist and the title of the photo. This large-format exhibition aims to be “a more prominent, public site for very different stories and images than the advertising that dominates the streets of many cities worldwide.”
The Billboard Festival also aims to create “a public debate around questions of gender,” by giving female artists “the opportunity to express themselves in their own terms” -- making the city more “open and creative -- for everyone.”
The project, initiated by Danish visual artist Hanne Lise Thomsen, first went public in 2003 in Malmö, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, before it was taken to Ramallah in the Palestinian territories in 2012.
Among the twenty or so Moroccan artists whose works are prominently displayed this year in Casablanca are the visual artists Rita Alaoi and Fatiha Zemmouri and the graphic designer Aïcha El Beloui. Check out a preview of the project below.
This post was originally published on HuffPost Maghreb and was translated into English.