Wednesday with… guest curator Yasmine Laraqui

Today, we are pleased to introduce Yasmine Laraqui from Casablanca, who is going to tell us more about her upcoming project, she is working on during her stay at studio das weisse haus. Furthermore she will give us an insight  about Youth’s Talking and Awiiily (2010-2014), two independent curatorial structures aiming to promote non-conformist international young artists and the great impact these projects made worldwide.

Yasmine Laraqui is a multidisciplinary artist born in 1989 in Casablanca. She holds a BFA from ENSA Paris-Cergy (2012) and a MFA from SVA, NYC (2014). Her work has been shown in France, Morocco, the U.S, Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Sweden, Italy and China for exhibitions, fairs and biennales including Marrakech Biennale, Photo L.A and PhotoMed Festival –amongst others.

YL: I am currently working on the transcript of cross cultural patterns of institutionalized sexism and femininity concepts in pre-colonial – colonial and post colonial Moroccan and French History. My researches include European feminist and queer theorists, as well as psychoanalysts that I’m trying to link with Pre-colonial Morocco historians discourses on sexual practices and gender notions (they were extremely liberal and queer back then!)

dwh: You have shown a great interest in the cultural and historical scene of the city. What are your impressions of Vienna so far, also compared to your hometown, Casablanca?
YL: I love it here. I’m trying to improve my Deutsch but I still have important grammatical issues so far, although I’m not giving up until my departure (sorry for my Viennese interlocutors ears). Well, I’m fascinated by the huge impact the Austrian scene had and still has on visual arts, from the classic modernists like Schiele / Klimt to the Viennese activism in performing arts – the democratization of the opera scene and obviously the tremendous international heritage of psychoanalysis! Well, I just regret that my hometown doesn’t have a cultural dynamic comparable to yours. Unfortunately with the ever-growing obscurantist secularism of the region (even if there’s a recrudescence of cultural events since Mohamed VI enthronement) we won’t be able to hold festivals such as the Impulstanz happening now in Vienna for instance – that would be considered too subversive and half of it would probably be censored – which is a cultural tragedy to me and other Moroccan artists or intellectuals who are forced to work outside of their home-country because of stupid obscurantists.

dwh: You co-founded Youth’s Talking and Awiiily (2010-2014), two independent curatorial structures aiming to promote non-conformist international young artists. Could you explain us more about these projects?

YL: I have created Youth’s Talking in 2010, I didn’t realize at the time that it was the first « underground » visual artists association there, I was living in Paris at the time anyway and was going back and forth to Morocco. We hold two events in Casablanca, both knew an unexpected success. I was too young at the time to realize what we were making was political, and even the regular visits of undercover policemen was somehow fun to me.
Then I moved to New York in 2012, there we’ve created Awiiily. Well, this time the manifesto was clearly subversive and has annoyed Republicans and puritans even in the U.S. We were considered political activists and anarchists. I didn’t except (call me naive) that an underground artists collective could have caused me so much troubles. We made an itinerary group show called Alien-nation, a medium size exhibition shown in independent venues in Paris and Brooklyn and finally at the Marrakech Biennale in 2014 before we were forced to dissolve.
Contrarily to what I could have imagined the hardest persecutions didn’t come from Morocco but from the U.S. Obviously not from France because they’re used to leftist activism and are pretty much open to all kind of hot debates. But yes anyway, I got harassed and slandered intensely in the U.S for two years and although that was a harsh experience – probably the ugliest thing I’ve been through. I have learned a lot – especially to never shut up.

For more information about Yasmine Laraqui, please visit:
www.yasminelaraqui.com

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