What do a djellaba and a tailed dressing gown have to do with each other? Two shores united by art, fashion and sustainability

“art-Ándalus” de Manuel Fernández llega al Bahía Palace de Marrakech

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On 9 December, the exhibition "art-Ándalus" opens at the majestic Bahia Palace in Marrakech. Coordinated and designed by Manuel Fernández, through the Fashion Art Institute of which he is the creator and ideologist, its aim is to highlight the historical and cultural relations that have united Morocco and Spain for centuries. 

"art-Ándalus" is a unique opportunity to study the complex relationship between art and fashion. Historically, both disciplines forged their own distinctive sectors: one of them proposes the illusion of something eternal and incorruptible, while the other, in the search for the future, advances by leaps and bounds and develops through clothing.

Al-Andalus on the northern shore and the Maghreb on the southern shore were part of a territory united by the Strait of Gibraltar. Human, artistic and commercial flows sometimes went from the north to the south, sometimes in the opposite direction in a cultural interaction that configured a complementary universe of East and West, resulting in an Andalusian-Maghrebi culture that has been perpetuated over time to the present day. 

The "art-Ándalus" exhibition was created with the aim of bearing witness to this common history through fashion and art; to ratify interculturality and Spanish-Moroccan cooperation and to give a futuristic and sustainable vision of two countries united by ancestral customs. 

Manuel Fernández, whose mission is to share, preserve, democratise and universalise art, wanted to pay tribute to this cultural mix by fusing two traditional costumes from both countries: the djellaba and the tailed gown. These two garments, which go back through time and our history, have given rise to surprising pieces on which twelve artists have created their creations. The costumes are accompanied by incredible headdresses designed by Vivas Carrión. Their source of inspiration: the filigree and decorative art of al-Andalus. 

Six Moroccan and six Spanish artists have interpreted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with different pictorial techniques, with an emphasis on Number 5: Gender Equality. The twelve costumes in the exhibition have been made in inclusive workshops and are made from recycled fabrics. "art-Ándalus is a sustainable project that, in addition to strengthening our cultural ties, will serve to raise awareness of the need to comply with the 2030 Agenda.

The artists invited to participate in the exhibition are Ahlam Lemseffer, Arancha Goyeneche, Eva Armisén, Hajar El Moustaassine, Irene López de Castro, Irene López León, Marisa Maestre, Marta Carrascosa, Nadia Chellaoui, Naïma Amsif, Rahima El Arround and Sara Fratini.

The exhibition, which will remain open until 9 January 2023, forms part of the programme of the third edition of the cultural programme "Visages", which is being held this year between October and December in different Moroccan cities.

"Visages", whose main objective is to strengthen and consolidate cultural ties between Morocco and Spain, is organised by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport, in collaboration with the Spanish Embassy in Rabat, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID), and the network of Cervantes Institutes in Morocco, with the support of the Moroccan Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication, the National Museum Foundation, as well as various Moroccan cultural institutions.

José Antonio Sierra, Hispanismo advisor.

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