Al Halqa – The Last Storytellers

Exhibition at the Ethnological Museum Dahlem and Dar Bellarj in Marrakech

Halqa der Aissawa (Schlangenbeschwörer), in der Mitte: Hassan Belmadani, Platz Djemaa EL Fna, Marrakesch / Marokko, Foto: Thomas Ladenburger

A lively tradition of public storytelling still exists in Maghreb, a tradition which vanished in Europe in the 19th century with its travelling performers and singers. The “Jamaa el-Fnaa” Square in Marrakech serves as venue for performances of acrobatics, dance, magic and storytelling every day. The onlookers stand in circles, or “halqas”, around the storytellers and performing artists. In 2011, the cultural space in and around the square was designated a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO.
The exhibition at the Ethnological Museum wished to convey the vibrant tradition of this form of expression to European audiences, as well as safeguard it through documentation. This art of storytelling has come to life in the museum by means of film footage, photography, audio recordings, a “Story Box” and live performances by two storytellers from Marrakech and Berlin. The exhibition, presented in Berlin and later in Marrakech, was just one part of an extensive digital project initiated by the filmmaker Thomas Ladenburger. The so-called “Jamaa el-Fnaa Virtual Museum” will provide public access to all of the collected material via the Internet at no cost.

Artistic director: Thomas Ladenburger
Performers: Abderahim El Maqori (MA), Idriss Al-Jay

Additional Venues:

Dar Bellarj Cultural Foundation, Marrakech: 3 Dec. – 31 May 2016


Thomas Ladenburger Filmproduktion

Lausitzer Strasse 34/2.Hof

10999 Berlin (external link, opens in a new window)