MO(VE)MENTS, London 2018-2019
Public space installations commissioned by Shubbak Festival
Aïcha El Beloui visited London in spring 2019 and researched the pathways, memories, traces and history of Moroccan immigration. Speaking to people and community groups, researching the sound archives in the British Library, and visiting many locations, she built up a complex picture of migration and presence. The result is one of her distinctive maps that chart the less visible routes connecting Morocco and London. Apart from this paper map, MO(VE)MENTS also exists as a travelling art installation, and was shown during Shubbak 2019 in North Kensington, the Museum of London, the British Library, the British Museum and the National Theatre.
MO(VE)MENTS illustrates the multitude of stories behind the Moroccan presence in the UK. It is a fusion of moving landmarks, areas and paths that encourages the viewers to think about the real meaning of the word ‘immigration’ and to explore some of the misunderstood and less visible layers encapsulated in that single word. MO(VE)MENTS pictures the first wave of Moroccans and the saddening reality of their impossible return back home after decades of hard work. There are also those who were born in the UK: they feel at home in the city but the carry the burden of shaping their own identity. Finally, there are those who arrived in the UK via France and who found in London the freedom to be North African without the weight of a colonial history.
MO(VE)MENTS shows that immigration is more than a group of people merely moving from one place to another. With MO(VE)MENTS, I want the viewers to think of the word ‘immigration’ in a different way by making the untold visible.
MO(VE)MENTS is commissioned by Shubbak Festival, A Window on Contemporary Arabic Culture. With thanks to: Souad Talsi, Hooda Sabbah, Abderrahman El Guerbouzi, Rajaa Bouchab, Azhar Benalhachmi, Driss Tazi, and everyone who helped making this work easier and richer. With the support of Arts Council England, British Council, Bagri Foundation and AM Qattan Foundation. Presented with additional support from Drosos Foundation and Nour Creative Learning Programme in collaboration with Al Hasaniya and FerArts.