French museums to enhance exhibitions of Morocco’s Amazigh heritage

This article was originally published on Morocco World News, on June 22.

Marseille’s Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM), the Jardin Majorelle Foundation in Marrakech, and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris have partnered to highlight the richness and diversity of Morocco’s Amazigh (Berber) heritage.

MuCEM and the Yves Saint Laurent Paris Museum, in partnership with the Jardin Majorelle Foundation, will exchange their different protocols on conservation, restoration, and inventory of Amazigh heritage collections.

A joint statement from the three partners explained that the collaboration adds to their policy of international cooperation and aims to improve knowledge of indigenous Moroccan culture and consolidate means to transmit that knowledge to the public.

The statement, quoted by Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), added that the three parties will collaborate in documenting the artifacts in their respective collections, as well as the artifacts’ history and identification, and share their resource networks.

MuCEM and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris are also set to exchange exhibitions in order to explore the diversity and richness of this heritage, both in Marseille and Marrakech, the statement added.

The tripartite agreement aims to establish and maintain privileged and lasting links between museums and their teams in France and Morocco, to improve the skills of museum professionals through the exchange of best practices, and to optimize the implementation of joint projects, the source continued.

“This ambitious collaboration is meant to enhance the heritage of both shores of the Mediterranean,” the statement concluded.

The Jardin Majorelle Foundation operates Marrakech’s iconic Jardin Majorelle, established in 1922 as a sanctuary for French painter Jacques Majorelle. In 1980, French designer Yves Saint Laurent bought the garden with YSL label co-founder Pierre Berge to save it from a hotel complex project.

The opulent garden overflows with exotic plants and trees and is also the site of the Yves Saint Laurent Berber Museum, inaugurated in 2011 under the patronage of King Mohammed VI in Majorelle’s former painting studio.

“More than 600 objects, collected from the Rif Mountains to the Sahara by Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurent, attest to the richness and diversity of this vibrant culture, which is still very much alive today,” says the museum’s official website.

The Jardin Majorelle Foundation is now set to share its experience with its partners in France and advance the vision of its founders to spread knowledge of and appreciation for “the ancient people of North Africa.”

Moroccan Amazigh woman in the High Atlas Mountains by Philippe Lafond, 1982.
Moroccan Amazigh woman in the High Atlas Mountains by Philippe Lafond, 1982.

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