With a past rich in history and culture, Morocco is a country that many visit to wander the old labyrinthine medinas and crumbling casbahs… and rightly so. In many ways, Morocco is a country of living history, however, it’s also a country quickly moving into the future. With new, state-of-the-art ports along the Mediterranean Coast, a nearly-complete high-speed train that will zoom from Tangier to Marrakesh, the world’s largest solar array in the Sahara and a number of new “eco-cities,” for its veritable wealth of history, under the steerage of King Mohammed VI, Morocco is also a fearless country, unafraid to voyage into the future.
Enter the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat (Musée Mohammed VI d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, often abbreviated as: MMVI). This museum is somehow typical of Morocco, dedicated to preserving both the past and the present of the country while also somehow serving as a place for international exhibits of world-renowned artists – such as Goya and Picasso.
Though every few months there is a new exhibit pulled from important collections around the world, MMVI’s first exhibition was decidedly Moroccan. It pulled on Moroccan artists from every corner of the country and was dedicated to “the last 100 years of Moroccan art” in an exhibit titled: 1914–2014: 100 Years of Creation.” The exhibition hosted 400 art pieces painted, sculpted and photographed by over 150 Moroccan artists. Many of these pieces now make up part of the museum’s permanent collection.
The more contemporary pieces in the museum’s collection lean towards the abstract, figurative and overtly political while the nascent art movements in Morocco were decidedly more realist, seeking more to journal a scene than anything else. Whatever your artistic tastes, there is sure to be something to appreciate in MMVI’s wonderful collection
Inspired by traditional Moroccan architecture, the museum took a decade to build and cost more than 20 million USD in total. It has quickly become a landmark in its home of Rabat, the capital of Morocco. The contemporary architecture has clear lines that harken back to the Andalusian heritage of Morocco’s most iconic structures, such as the Koutoubia Mosque of Marrakesh, though the museum is most beautiful when lit at night, a glowing beacon of culture along the busy boulevard.
For art lovers and those wanting to further their cultural exploration of Morocco, the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is a world-class museum worth exploring for a morning or perhaps to escape during a hot afternoon.
Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, 10, rue Beni Mellal, Angle Av Mohamed V, Rabat – Open Wed – Mon, 10am – 6pm. Adults: 40 dhs, 13-18yrs: 20 dhs, 12 and younger: 10 dhs.
About the Author
Text and photos by award-winning writer, photographer, and Morocco expert, Lucas Peters. After spending years traveling to the distant corners of Morocco and writing about his adventures, he penned the best-selling guidebook Moon Morocco as well as Marrakesh and Beyond. He is the Managing Director of Journey Beyond Travel and currently lives in Tangier with his family.