A disused government-owned slaughterhouse in Casablanca that ceased to operate in 2000 now hosts art exhibitions, music shows, film screenings and other cultural activities run by La Fabrique Culturelle.
Spotted over on Brownbook Magazine, The Slaughterhouse is an exciting new space for artists in what has become one of Morocco’s most bustling commercial centers.
Abandoned among a slew of other modernist structures, Les Anciens Abattoirs’ can be reached by the city’s extended tram line, which has helped to bridge neglected neighborhoods such as Hay Mohammadi and the more affluent city center.
Originally designed by French architects Albert Greslin and Georges-Ernest Desmarest and gifted to the nonprofit architectural preservation society Casamémoire, the former slaughterhouse continues to display some of its original infrastructure, including giant metal hooks used to hang dead animals.
In time, however, assuming that the municipality lends its approval and La Fabrique Culturelle can procure sufficient funds, the sprawling concrete complex will be divided into five creative districts that accommodate different cultural activities – including a documentation center and a library.
For now the complex is distinguished by its rough walls tagged with colorful graffiti, reminiscent of Imed Trabelsi’s abandoned mansion in Tunisia, which was colonized by the art collective “The Bedouins” after the Jasmine Revolution.
Dancers occasionally show off their moves on the rooftop, poets perform, and musicians fill the cavernous halls with traditional and contemporary tunes while people from all sectors of society explore this unique venue.
“The Slaughterhouse has rejuvenated Hay Mohammadi’s reputation, and has managed to decentralise Casablanca’s cultural scene, away from its core in the west of the city,” writes Brownbook’s Natalie Shooter.
While Al-Dusheira municipality has shown support for pro-society graffiti art, La Fabrique Culturelle is having a harder time finding support for their project.
Designed to promote the arts and culture in order to cultivate the same among a population dulled by capitalism and television, The Slaughterhouse costs €5,000 each month just to stay afloat.
“Right now we’re just hosting residencies and artists to create and perform, because we have no budget,” says project coordinator Dounia Benslimane.
Located near the Derb Moulay Cherif detention center, the building is protected from demolition, but it remains to be seen whether Moroccan authorities will have the courage to allow a project with such independent creative roots thrive without centralized control.
Photos courtesy La Fabrique Culturelle Facebook Page