Mustapha Akrim

Mustapha Akrim (b. 1981) belongs to a generation of Moroccan artists redefining expression in the visual arts in their home country. His installations question the nature of work, and they often express frustration with the problem of widespread youth unemployment. His work We Had a Dream (2011) is inspired by Martin Luther King’s immortal words “I have a dream.” Akrim puts the phrase in the past tense, calling for a remembrance of past liberty and equality struggles and agitating for renewed efforts to achieve social justice in the future. He uses his nuanced understanding of history and the dynamics of power in Morocco to break from aesthetics developed in the post-colonial period. For his new commission for the Biennale Akrim researches history and its relationship with the present, and the complicated relationship between religion and money. The artwork is a representation of an old Moroccan coin bearing a Koranic text and the name of the city where it was minted. Akrim graduated from the Institut national des beaux-arts de Tetouan. He completed a residency at L’appartement 22, Rabat and has participated in workshops in Namibia, Jordan, France, and Morocco. Group exhibitions include National Museum of Carthage (2012), New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2012) and MACBA, Barcelona (2014). His first solo exhibition was at L’appartement 22, Rabat in 2011.