Holiday Powers is a Ph.D candidate in History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University, USA.
Creating New Relationships Through Art: Modern and Contemporary Art in Post-Colonial Morocco
Powers' project focuses on the various relationships that artists in the 1960s and early 1970s in Morocco sought to build. This period, following independence in 1956, is marked by a negotiation between defining the nation and both inhabiting and seeking out international forms of alliance. Artists sought to ground the international formal language of modernism with local referents, exploring what it might mean to be modern and Moroccan. Claiming a newly public role, they were attempting to active shaping within the independent nation what that cultural identity could be. Consistently using this nation-based identity as a starting point, artists went on to forge international solidarities, particularly in relation to the bloc alliances of the Third World and the Arab world. She will analyze the multiple forms that these relationships took and consider the limits of these varied relationships, both within the space of the nation and in relation to other groupings. The dissertation will also consider the contemporary generation of artists in Morocco as a counterpoint to this earlier generation in its renewed claims of publicness. The shape of local/international alliance has changed and artists in Morocco are now consciously juxtaposing a hyper-local city- or community-based public with an internationally constellated public. At Darat al Funun, she will be particularly interested in the archival materials available on the artist Farid Belkahia, who is represented within the collection, and is quite central to her work.
- Holiday Powers, 2012