Yto Barrada and Zid Zid Kids go to the moon.
It is the year 2012 in the Gulf desert town of Dubai. The weather is pleasantly warm and sunny during the day and breezy at night. The atmosphere is composed of oxygen, nitrogen and anticipation because it’s mid-March – Art Week season. There is talk of spaceships, robots and laser beams in the night sky. But it’s not freak alien sightings or humanoid Jedi knights journeying our way. It’s a fleet of adorable designs for children, from furniture to toys, inspired by 1950’s sci-fi and brought to life by a collaboration between Yto Barrada and Zid Zid Kids in a project titled Morocco to the Moon.
The French-born Moroccan artist Yto Barrada, considers herself above all other art forms a photographer – a path she began during her stay in the West Bank where she examined the sociology of checkpoints. She studied history and political sciences at the Sorbonne in Paris, and later photography at the International Centre of Photography, New York. It was through photography that Barrada became interested in art. She uses as a material the eerie urban development of her hometown, Tangier; the hustle and bustle, the foreign investments, and how this will ultimately shape the city. Her work ranges from sculptures and installations to photographs and publications. The Deutsche Guggenheim Artist of the Year 2011’s most recent work can be seen in pictures of the Louis Vuitton Casablanca flagship store opening last month.
Zid Zid (roughly translating to “hurry up”) is an award-winning Marrakesh design house established by the husband and wife team of Julie Klear (a studio artist) and Moulay Ahmed Essakalli (a graphic designer). The couple, who met in New York, set the bar high for children’s design because Zid Zid Kids creations not only reflect limitless imagination, but they are also a manifestation of the love that goes into handmade products. Klear and Essakalli live in a colorfully serene riad (a Moroccan house with a courtyard) with their children and continue their dedication to Zid Zid Kids using fair trade – “the only trade” they rely on. They have won several awards over the years including the Moroccan-American Trade And Investment Award, the Presidential Summit On Entrepreneurship (Washington, DC) and Best Children Product (France).
Morocco to the Moon is an educational installation commissioned by Art Dubai Projects and supported by Louis Vuitton that will serve as an intergalactic exploration center for children and space-aficionados of all ages. So brace yourself for a journey into outer space with Color Me Robot Mask workshops and film screenings. - Farah Al Sharief