At a time when conversations about anti-racism and representation are gaining global momentum, many brands and art institutions—in their rush to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement—have in-turn taken advantage of POC labour and talent, in a bid to reaffirm their presence in the current race debate. Despite a sense of inclusivity on the horizon, there still haven’t been many concrete plans for change yet.
This is where Omar Benmoussa, Amina Debbiche, Oussama Garti and Hamza Slaoui come in. The collective of Moroccan and Tunisian art enthusiasts decided to launch Interval (a collective born out of Zoom during lockdown), in the attempt to expand access to art, support up-and-coming artists, and engage young audiences more deeply in conversations surrounding identity and culture. And more importantly, Interval hopes to become a common voice for Arabs and Africans on the art scene.
Having hosted their first webinar on July 22, which united Tunisian curator and Executive Director of Chicago’s Renaissance Society Myriam Ben Salah with New York-based Moroccan artist Meriem Bennani and Casablanca-based rapper Shobee, the collective launched their first exhibition entitled IM(PULSION).
Showcasing the works of 21 Moroccan artists, IM(PULSION) is a digital exhibition that will run until September 22, with all proceeds going to the selected artists and the Institute Tahar Sebti, a non-profit school for vulnerable and disabled children in Morocco.
“IM(PULSION) comes from a strong urge to start a conversation around culture in Africa and the Middle East. We wanted to create an independent action that could bring together artists with a common thread—the fact that their engagement towards their practice is unconditional. When a small seed is planted, you can have the compulsion/impulsion to do anything”, says the collective’s 31-year-old co-founder Amina Debbiche.
Debbiche (who also serves as the co-founder of The Open Crate, which is the platform hosting the exhibition sales as well as a digital archive of regional private collections) is passionate about preserving and documenting the region’s cultural heritage. And with her Lebanese business partner Nora Mansour, she’s dedicated to doing it without the need for western intervention. “I really want to make sure that the next generation can access the amazing private art collections that exist in the region, but that haven’t been open to the public until now and give them accountability”, she continues.
Yasmine Hatimi, Hicham Matini, Amine El Gotaibi, Mo Baala, Yacout Kabbaj and Amina Agueznay are just some of the exciting boundary-pushing artists included in IM(PULSION).
“These are artists who share with us a desire to demystify the process behind creative thinking so that art can rally more people and especially the youth in our region. With Interval we hope to bridge the enormous gap between the artist and the public with new innovative tools”, explains 24-year-old Moroccan architect Oussama Garti.
With an ambitious schedule of talks, webinars and digital actions in the pipeline, for Interval, the aim is simple: “it’s time to show Arabness and Blackness the way it should be shown: for what it is”.
Check out the exhibition here.