- Posted by Hanne Lise Thomsen
- On 3. april 2015
- 0 Comments
Wednesday 01st of April 2015.
Note launch of Billboard Festival Casablanca
Let me first start by presenting my appreciations to the organisers of the event, Hanne Lise Thomsen, in particular, for all the nights she could not sleep well, and when she emailed me the days after. Then of course all the main partners of the event, some of whom I came across during preparation times, like Nadia Mtahri, and Hamza from FCCOM, or Nezha, Tanya and their teams from la Villa des Arts, and of course all the artists who had to be very patient and supportive of the event to make it a success.
And let us not forget, Ecole des Beaux Arts Casablanca, Norden, Kvinfo, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts…and many others…
12 centuries ago, around years 800, during the Viking’s age in Scandinavia, a violet stone ring on which ‘to Allah’ is written in Arabic belonged to a Scandinavian woman living in Birka 25 Km from modern-day Stockholm.
According to research about the Ring which was discovered in the lady’s grave, there is material evidence that there were direct interactions between the Vikings and the Muslims.
We then jump through history and reach 1776 when both Kings, Mohamed Ben Abdellah of Morocco and Frederick Vth of Denmark sign a peace and trade treaty with the opening of a Danish Consulate in Essaouira. This had set an era of cultural exchanges rarely matched until 2006. And in 2006, Morocco and Denmark sign a bilateral cooperation agreement as a support to the Danish – Arab Partnership Programme. The programme has two objectives: support the reforms process in Morocco and promote dialogue between Institutions and NGOs from both countries.
Today, watching Scandinavian and Moroccan artists’ work in the streets of Casablanca, through the Billboard Festival, one can say ‘this is wonderful’, ‘it shows once more the role of art and culture in bridging the gaps between human societies’.
Of course we need to do more in these particular times where moderate views should triumph over radical ones…,
Reinforcing women presence in public space is of utmost importance to promote awareness and combat sexism in the streets. I can take the example of the Poster done by artist Randa. She touches on an important subject: Street harassment which is something many women are aware of; some have even been victim of it. This is another reason we provide our support to civil society and artists’ works like these to reinforce women rights. Like the Marrakech example I read about in the press lately, where the local bus company is setting cameras to prevent women harassment in its vehicles. These are small steps, but will grow bigger because of your engagement.
The Danish Embassy in Rabat is a strong supporter of gender equality, we have worked with the Ministry of Justice and several NGOs in the fight of violence against women, and we never miss an opportunity to promote gender equality in national and international forums.
Finally, I wish you all a successful Event.
Senior Adviser, Danish Embassy Rabat