Towards a Plural Aesthetic in the Maghreb

Mounira ben Mustapha Hachana


The study and interpretation of the art of the modern and contemporary Maghreb is a developing field, in terms of artistic production, exhibition, marketing, and theoretical discourse. In recent years, artists of North Africa and the Middle East have achieved great visibility on the international scene, even as they suffer from many lacks, including the structures of art production, and critical discourses, and theoretical approaches. The principal aim of this paper is to avoid the radar screen of the western world and to think about the specificity of this region, such as a possible world of contemporary art.  We can consider these artists and artworks beyond the cliché image repertoires of terrorism and tourism, Orientalism and clandestine migration that dominate most representations of the Maghreb. We want to explore visual art, and its dynamic, not by describing movements or putting together a chronology, but by guiding many reflections about the relation between theory and practice in this specific geographic area. This paper will address key points of the problems of terminology: the problematic use of such terms as Modern Islamic Art and the frequent application of the terms Modern and Contemporary without sufficient acknowledgment of their contextual connotation. It will examine the recent developments in art practice in the Maghreb and its diaspora and their wider context, analyzing the impact of globalization and other transnational cultural and social links.


Article received: December 23, 2019; Article accepted: January 31, 2020; Published online: April 15, 2020; Review article

How to cite the article: ben Mustapha Hachana, Mounira. "Towards a Plural Aesthetic in the Maghreb." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 21 (2020): 13-19. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i21.357


aesthetics; contemporary art world; cosmopolitan; plural; identity; Maghreb; singularity.

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