Casablanca School By Powers, Jean Holiday
The École des Beaux-Arts of Casablanca was founded in 1950 by the French, during the protectorate era in Morocco (1912–1956). It has stayed open constantly since its opening, and is a municipal school, unlike the art school in Tétouan, Morocco. The first Moroccan director of the school was Maurice Arama (1960–1962), who was succeeded by Farid Belkahia (1962–1974). Under Belkahia, the school was a significant landmark in the history of Moroccan modernism. As well as a new modernist style in their personal work, members of the faculty were known for advancing a pedagogy that focused on rooting modernism in local visual culture. The school turned away from the inherited French model of easel paintings and still-lifes, instead highlighting Moroccan visual culture and architecture. Faculty taught students in multiple media, including painting, sculpture, and ceramics, as well as in graphic design. Each year, for a final project, the students would work together on an urban space that would stay open for three months for public visits. For example, in the final year project for 1968, rather than a typical art school showcase, as the faculty described it, the students were asked to treat the architecture of the gallery in such a way as to highlight the broader materials, plasticity, and space of the gallery itself, trying to integrate and synthetize arts of multiple disciplines and techniques.