By Hajare El Khaldi
By Hajare El Khaldi
Rabat- A one-day art exhibit in the US city of Philadelphia will celebrate artwork from Morocco and other countries infamously deemed “shitholes” by the US President Donald Trump.
Launched by Le Chapeau Project, this gallery will feature contemporary artists from more than 15 countries, such as Haiti, Mauritius, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Morocco. The exhibit aims to promote self-representation for artists of the aforementioned nations, while challenging the negative narrative and imagery put forth by the US president.
“The audience will get a unique chance to dive into ‘shitholes’ like never before!” the organizers sardonically proclaimed.
Established in 2018, Le Chapeau Project promotes emerging contemporary artists often excluded from exhibition in typical art galleries, through one-day only art galleries around the world, and diverse art genres such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and film.
Founded by French-Tunisian Fatene Ben-Hamza, who currently lives in Casablanca, and American Steve Garguilo, who currently lives Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, this project “takes off its hat” to remarkable talent in all corners of the globe.
“Steve Garguilo and myself were inspired to launch this project after the ‘shitholes’ remarks earlier this year. As extensive travelers and members of several communities such as TED and TEDx, we thought that the best answer to such remarks would be to showcase the talents these so-called ‘shithole’ countries produce and give them a platform to contribute to a more positive narrative,” Ben-Hamza told Morocco World News.
Although the initiative revolves around emerging countries, it has recently received great encouragement in the US, from those who applaud the organizers’ creative response.
“The feedback we received led us to understand the importance of creating more powerful platforms for cultural understanding, for dialogue–and the urgency to bring these to as many people as we can,” added the organizers.
Three artists have been selected so far to represent Morocco in the city of brotherly love: Zineb Ben Jeloun, Dina Ben Brahim and Mamoun Belghiti.
Earlier in January, President Trump reportedly made derogatory comments while referring to developing countries generally and Haiti specifically, during an immigration policy meeting, saying: “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?”
In the aftermath of these remarks, the African Union asked President Trump to respond and apologize. The Pan-African organization received a “friendship letter” in response, addressed to leaders of the states gathering at AU summit in Addis Ababa in January.