The Fez Gathering aims to show how modern arts can flourish in an ancient city.
Fez – The fifth International Artist Gathering of Fez, held from January 9 to 12, invited local, national, and international artists to exchange ideas in a creative space.
The free event, held at a historic riad in the city’s ancient medina owned by the Arabic Language Institute in Fez (ALIF), invites the public to participate in workshops, listen in on a panel discussion, observe exhibitions, and enjoy food, mint tea, and Moroccan music.
The fifth installment of the Fez Gathering centered around the theme of creative economies and cultural goods.
Creative economies have two dimensions, according to Omar Chennafi, the event’s organizer.
The first dimension consists of the creative acts artists engage in to generate revenue, reflecting the practical side of being an artist. The second dimension reflects the creative side of being an artist, referring to the efforts artists make either to forge new modes of creativity or to preserve artistic traditions.
Cultural goods refer to the tangible and intangible places or things that preserve cultural heritage, and how to evolve these goods into the modern world in a way that fosters development.
These themes aim to inspire dialogue on how the creative arts impact the economy and people’s everyday lives.
Speaking to Morocco World News before the Fez Gathering’s opening dinner on Thursday, January 9, Chennafi explained that creative economies have the potential to nurture human development in the Global South.
“We really underestimate the power of art as a vehicle of development,” the Fez native and photographer stated.
“I do believe art could help us first to understand where we come from, our belonging,” Chennafi continued. “Before we think about human development, we have to think about who we belong to. In order to create change in a place, you have to belong to that place—I think art really enhances and informs these values.”
Chennafi later shared with MWN his goals in hosting the annual event. He said that his aim is not to generate revenue or promote his own artistry, but rather to invite local, national, and international communities to explore and engage with Fez as a source of creative inspiration.
“I want to bring an experience where traditions and modernity can get together,” he added, noting a generational conflict in Fez as younger people neglect the trades, art, and craftsmanship of older generations.
“The conflict comes from [friction between] a generation that gives and a generation that pulls,” he stated. “The Fez Gathering is not trying to fix this issue but to show how modern arts can flourish in an ancient city.”