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Dear all,
On behalf of Mondriaan Foundation, Prince Claus Fund, Premsela Foundation, BAM – Institute for visual, audiovisual and media art, DAA –Danish Arts Agency and Prohelvetia, we would like to thank all the institutions and people that we visisted during this orientation trip. You all really made this trip into a unique experience for the participants. We surely hope that this trip will lead to future collaborations on both sides.

Dilara, Tim, Sebas & Haco


Blog updates

Hi all,
Thanks a lot for visiting our blog in such great numbers and following what we have been doing during this orientation trip 2011 to Bamako, Segou, Dakar and Casablanca.
We are still updating the blog with information and reviews of the places we visisted.
So please check again!
Thanks, Haco

Day 11 – Casablanca architectural tour, CasArts & L’Boulevard

Casablanca Skyline

Hectic schedule of our last day in Casablanca somehow helped reduce the tension of the last day of the Orientation trip – the last day to see more, learn more, get the souvenirs, take more pictures and do whatever we can to seize the day and make the impression of the overall trip as much as possible intense and everlasting.

And the day was undoubtedly an eventful one.

Aïcha el Beloui of Casamémoire

It started with the architectural tour with Aïcha el Beloui, an architect who is a part of the Casamémoire organisation, devoted to preservation of architectural heritage of Casa(blanca). The group was very eager to learn as much as possible about the city, whose vast space kept revealing traces of various cultural traditions of nations occupying and populating the area. The story of architecture was intertwined with the story of development of Casablanca, how it became one the leading cities and the largest of North Africa, now numbering around 3 million inhabitants and 3.6 million in the wider Casablanca region.

Cathédrale Sacré Coeur

The first curiosity we learned was its name  – “Casablanca”, as the world knows this city – which is obviously not an Arabic word. Aïcha explained that the name comes from “Casa Branca”, meaning “white house”, which was given by the Portuguese in 16th century, with a later Spanish adaptation into “Casa Blanca”, while remaining “Ad-Dar al-Bayda” for the Arabic speaking population.

But the history of this place starts much before the Portuguese. It was first inhabited by the Berbers, with the record of their presence from as early as the 7th century. The first name for the area was Anfa, still used for the historical centre, which designated a small kingdom formed in the Roman days. After being fought for by different dynasties between the 13th and the 15th century, it became an independent republic. However, the Portuguese came not long after, destroyed it and then used the ruins of Anfa to build a military fortress in 1515, while the town, Casa Branca, grew around it. For a long time the city did not prosper, until, in the 18th century, Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah decided to populate it and make it a centre of economy, bringing people from different places to live there and giving it the official name Casablanca. The city steadily grew in terms of its of population, but also its economy, achieving its progress in commerce in the days of the European crisis in the mid-19th century. Continue reading

Orientation Trip 2011 on YouTube

We’re back home from our Orientation Trip. The coming days we will upload new blogs and images from our visit to Casablanca. Meanwhile you can have a look at some videos we made on our YouTube channel:

Day 8 – Loosing time / The beauty of hell

Loosing time…

a list of famous people who visited the Maison des Esclaves

There is a lot of waiting, here at the West Coast of Africa. We wait for people and in busses and taxis in the huge traffic jams of Dakar. But better forget the idea that waiting means “loosing time”. The Western concept of time efficiency does not work here and that is the first thing to learn while working and traveling here. Better “use the time” that you are sitting and hanging around to talk to each other and to the “locals” who came to Dakar from all over Africa.
Especially women are in for a chat and are curious. So go and sit next to a beautifully dressed African lady and enjoy waiting!

Waiting for the boat to Île de Gorée.

The beauty of hell

guide at Maison des Esclaves & Veerle Wenes

Île de Gorée is a tiny island of only 2,7 km2 but it has a huge history.
It is a Unesco World Heritage site also due to its slave-trading history.
Gorée has been in the hands of the Portuguese, the Dutch, the English and then of course of the French during centuries. Like every where here in West Africa women are powerful, or shall I say the “working class heroes”… In Gorée white colonists and slave women had the power in this matriarchal slave trading society of a 1000 habitants.

balcony of Maison des Esclaves

We visit the “maison des esclaves”, the only building that remains of the slavery trade to the “new World”. Strange to see that the “traders” lived above the warehouse with rather peaceful balconies and an amazing seaside view!

Veerle Wenes

Day 7 – YouTube video of Kër Thiossane

Please click here to see the short YouTube report on our visit of Kër Thiossane (Villa for Art and Media) in Dakar.

Day 5 – YouTube video Bogolon workshop

Please have a look at the YouTube report on our Bogolon workshop at Ndomo educational complex: