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“Exhibition of Moroccan Art: Cordoba, 1946”

From March 04, 2023 until July 14, 2023Mondays through Fridays, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe exhibition halls (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). Mondays through Fridays, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m. Free entry until the room’s capacity is reached.
In Spanish.

Casa Árabe, in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen, is displaying this set or works at its Andalusian headquarters on the “Exhibition of Moroccan Art: Cordoba 1946,” as part of the eighteenth Cordoba Photography Biennial. Discover it at our headquarters from March 4.

“Exhibition of Moroccan Art, Cordoba 1946” is a photographic show about the city of Cordoba’s past and the friendly Spanish-Moroccan relations at that time, historically delimited by the early period in General Franco’s dictatorship, the Spanish Civil War and the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco.

The snapshots, which form part of the documentary work by municipal architect Víctor Escribano Ucelay (from 1941 to 1978), donated by the family to the Cordoba City Council and kept by the city’s Municipal Archives, show us an exceptional event: an original extension of the traditional Nuestra Señora de la Salud fair in Cordoba, which was held with the official title of “Exhibition of Moroccan Art” from May 24 to June 2, 1946.

The main focus of the initiative, officially promoted by the city’s chronicler José María Rey Día, with the cooperation of the Royal Academy of Cordoba, the Fairs and Festivities Commission of the Cordoba City Council and the High Commissariat of Spain in Morocco (the highest body of the Spanish government in the Spanish Protectorate), was a “Moorish village” which imitated the architectural style of a Moroccan medina, designed by Escribano Ucelay.

Physically located in the surroundings of the La Victoria Children’s School and the Córdoba Palace Hotel (formerly the Hotel Meliá), it took place in different meeting rooms, exhibition spaces and craft stalls, with the goal of providing a place for cultural sharing and tourism exchanges between people from both sides of the Straits of the Gibraltar. In addition, parallel to but not exclusively attached with the physical space, music played an important role, through the orchestra of the Conservatory of Spanish-Moroccan Music of Tetouan.

Underlying the project “Exhibition of Moroccan Art: Cordoba, 1946” is the idea of recovering our memory, our past, though it is important to contextualize this within the scenario of colonial control and asymmetrical power relations existing at the time. Likewise, Orientalism, that stereotyped still-persisting way of portraying the Arab world, should not be ignored if one is to deal objectively with this type of historical events.

The project “Exhibition of Moroccan Art: Cordoba, 1946” was curated by Matthew Machin-Autenrieth (University of Aberdeen), Marcos de la Fuente and Javier Rosón (Casa Árabe), with the collaboration of José Manuel Recio Espejo (University of Cordoba, “Nicolay Masyuk” lecture), Luis Valdelomar and Amin Chachoo. We are especially grateful for the cooperation of the Culture and Historical Heritage Department of Cordoba’s Municipal Government, the City Archives of Cordoba, the European Research Council and the project “Musical Encounters of Past and Present Across the Strait of Gibraltar” (MESG_758221).

Building, minaret, pond and Moroccan staff
Cordoba City Archives
Collection of Víctor Escribano Ucelay (1905-1978) | 1946

Exhibition brochure:

“Exhibition of Moroccan Art: Cordoba, 1946”
Photo: Zubillaga. Building, minaret, pond and Moroccan staff (Cordoba City Archives).