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Michel Mirabal and his experience in Jardin Rouge Artist Residency

The artistic residence Jardin Rouge is an amazing residency program established by the Montresso* Art Foundation in 2009 in Marrakesh. The aim of this Foundation, through the artist residency and other outreach activities is to promote diversity in artistic research and transcend borders.

As Michel Mirabal tells us, the Jardin Rouge is a very special space that inspires reflection and creation. A place where cultures coexist and whose objective is to create an artistic dialogue between them. Singulart talked to Cuban artist Michel Mirabal about his experience at this artists retreat.

Could you explain a bit about what the program consists of?

I stayed there for a month, but there are artists that stay for a longer period of time. It is a time of open inspiration, the artist develops his work on any theme they are inspired by. The program provides all the artistic materials required to create your piece.

Why did you join this Artist Residency program? Why Morocco?

My situation was a bit different, I was personally invited by the King of Morocco when he visited me in my studio in Cuba to invite me to exhibit my works in an Exposition at the King’s Museum in Rabat. So this process was not like that of other artists, I did not decide to apply but was invited to attend the program. However, I am very happy to have been part of such a beautiful experience in a such a vibrant and inspirational country as Morocco.

How does a resident at Jardin Rouge work?

As I mentioned before, the artist at Jardin Rouge gets to be inspired and develop his work as he or she wishes. The artist is provided with all the necessary materials. Then, they sell their works in group or individual exhibitions where the artist receives a commission.

Personally, I believe it to be an exciting and interesting opportunity were you meet and share a time of inspiration with artists from all over the world. And that’s why I repeated the experience.

Do you get inspired by the Moroccan culture and landscape?

I can assure you that it has been perhaps the most beautiful and magical experience that I have had in an artistic residence. The country, its culture, its people and the oranges and tangerines are something simply extraordinary.

Above all, I highlight the culture of the country: music and religion especially. Just as I was powerfully struck by the woodworkers (cabinetmakers).

What was your project about? What inspired your creation the most?

My project was special because it was for the exhibition at the museum in Rabat, as the king asked me to do.
I was inspired by the country and the new relations between Cuba and Morocco that were re-established after more than 50 years.

Did you have the opportunity to display your artwork?

They have exhibitions every weekend and receive many visits from collectors, gallery and museum professionals. They also have a large exhibition in Marrakech visited by many people interested and passionate about the arts. As I did not apply directly, I was not part of the normal program and therefore I can not give you too many details about it.

What did this experience bring to you?

My experience at Jardin Rouge was certainly magical and exciting. As I mentioned, the country has several characteristics that make it unique and special. I came away with many nice memories, learning about the culture of the country and the artists I lived with as well as being a huge source of inspiration. I would recommend any artist to enjoy this beautiful and inspiring experience if they have the opportunity.

Discover more about how Morocco has inspired Singulart artists here.