Nawal Slaoui was born in 1966, and lives and works in Casablanca, Morocco. She produces and diffuses contemporary art in Morocco and internationally. She is also a curator for specific cultural projects. She has been working in contemporary art since 1993, when she opened the Meltem Art Gallery in Casablanca. She is therefore devoted to the promotion of new artistic expressions (photography, installation, new technologies, video, etc.), which at that time in Morocco remained embryonic. In 1998, she contributed to the creation of the Actua Foundation for the leading Moroccan bank, where she carried out research and promotion of young talents, through exhibitions including Mounir Fatmi, Hicham Benohoud and Lamia Naji. In 2005, Nawal Slaoui was appointed Artistic Director of the Urban Art component of the Casablanca Festival. In 2008, she founded the non-profit Madar association, whose founding values are art, pedagogy, and the environment. In 2010, she created Cultures Interface, a structure for the production and distribution of contemporary art to promote emerging Moroccan and Maghreb artistic expression on the international scene. Since 2011, she has designed and produced large-scale group exhibitions in New York, Paris, and Casablanca. Nawal Slaoui also accompanies the artists she supports through the production of works she presents to the public in monographic exhibitions and, in 2014, at the 5th edition of Marrakech Biennale. From 2014 she has been invited by MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseille) as co-curator of the exhibition Artists in the City: Art in the Workplace and in 2015 participated in the 1st edition of the Photography Biennale of the contemporary Arab world with the Binôme Gallery in Paris, showing unpublished photographs by Zineb Andress Arraki.
My experience with La Chambre Claire since 2013 has been very rewarding and a real pleasure.
The quality of the exchanges expressed by the members of the jury enabled me, on the one hand, to discover the variety of views and sensibilities of each, and on the other hand to attend particularly professional meetings; we took the time to criticize and defend our dossiers, and carefully listen to each other.
With regard to the applications received, I have noticed an increase in requests and the evolution of the quality of portfolios sent by photographers over the years. Some were incomplete and relatively chaotic, others were complete, clear, meaningful, and rich in creativity and technical precision. I was able to discover the immensity of African creativity, its potential and the fervor and ambition of all these young people.
Sometimes it was difficult to decide, because competition was intense. But in the end, the extreme variety of the jury members’ views and the hours spent in discussion allowed us to remain faithful to our judgments and to accurately evaluate the competition’s prize-winners.
The Prix de la Chambre Claire is following its course, evolving across Africa, and I wish every success to this undertaking and that the growing number of candidatures will make this contest known to all Africans.