Badr El Hammami‘s residency at Le Cube – independent art room is carried out in the context of the project État d’Urgence d’Instants Poétiques.
Conceived and set up by Bouchra Salih, État d’Urgence d’Instants Poétiques is an annual artistic manifestation that takes place in the Botanical Garden of Rabat.
For this initiative, the garden becomes an open-air exhibition space, as well as a site for inspiration, where the citizens is invited to appropriate the public space by letting themselves be carried away by the artistic proposals of different artists.
The presented artworks are created in situ, inside the garden, blending with the environment, like an extension of the natural ecosystem that makes the space.
In this mood where art and nature merge into a single entity, visitors from Rabat, Salé and elsewhere are invited for this poetic interlude, to adopt the public space that becomes theirs, to discover or rediscover the botanical garden under another light.
In addition, État d’Urgence d’Instants Poétiques is an occasion to reconcile art and nature, to generate a novel view of creation outside the walls, to question the relationship between an artwork and the public space.
Striving to assemble diverse artistic practices and make of the Botanical Garden a space of in situ creation, a laboratory of inventiveness and fusion, Bouchra Salih invites, for this second edition, Badr El Hammami, Amina Agueznay, Driss Aroussi, Kamal Aadissa, Nassim Azarzar, Khalid El Bastrioui, Abdellah El Hassak, Simohammed Fettaka, Jamila Lamrani, Lina Laraki, Mohamed Mourabiti, Younès Rahmoun, and Nazha Rhondali.
For his new production that he specifically conceived for the Botanical Garden, Badr El Hammami draws on the history of the place. The latter is intrinsically linked to the colonial history of Morocco and the impact of the French presence on the mental conceptions of the country, since the beginning of the 20th century to the present day.
As a matter of fact, the Botanical Garden of Rabat has been founded at the beginning of the protectorate, serving as a space for botanical experiments under the reign of the French Empire at the time. It has been conceived in parallel with other botanical gardens, in different colonized countries and in Paris, so as to consider possible botanical exploitations and transplants that could serve France at that time.
The impacts of those experimentations have totally changed the landscapes of each region and, in some cases, led the agricultural and fruit farms of the countries, still operational today
It is interesting to observe that the images of the colonized countries disseminated in the metropole during the time of colonization, notably through postcards, include several botanical elements. However, as numerous sociologists have demonstrated, realizing and owning the image equals the ownership of a part of what is represented.
Thus, controlling nature and making it profitable was a major objective at the time. This part of history that the Botanical Garden carries, Badr El Hammami wishes to grasp for the realization of his project.
The artist specifies that, at their arrival, the colonizers installed their military camps in the fields surrounding the cities in order to better consider their actions. These mobile camps were usually named after trees, like the camp des Oliviers, in the vicinity of Meknes.
Intitled L’arbre qui cache la forêt, Badr El Hammami’s project for État d’Urgence d’Instants Poétiques makes use of some elements specific to the tents in the military camps. At the same time, he highlights the significance of images in this period of history.
The artist uses a vocabulary related to tents and training areas of the military camps, including their wooden structure, ropes, and stakes, to create an installation that evokes their presence. Under these frames, which become architectural, the artist places on tables collections of postcards from the colonial period. They depict plants, city districts, but also components of the Botanical Garden of Rabat.
Thus, with L’arbre qui cache la forêt, and in the very heart of the garden that makes the subject of this proposal, Badr El Hammami invites us to go beyond the charm of an environment and rather focus our attention on its context and history.
Etat d’Urgence d’Instants Poétiques is a program organized by Fotografi’Art and supported by la Wilaya of Rabat Salé Kénitra, the National Institute of Agronomic Research, l’Institut Français du Maroc, Le Cube – indépendant art room and Sortir Rabat.