The National Museum of Photography an almost unknown treasure

By : Saidi Sanaa

Located halfway between the Rabat lighthouse and the old military sanitarium, Fort Rottembourg, Fort Hervé or Borj El Kebir, is a bastion erected at the end of the 19th century on the Rabat ledge to house two 30- ton cannons from Hamburg offered by the Germans. The first name of the stronghold is deduced from the name of the German mastermind Walter Rottemburg who was the officer in charge of the workshop which started in June 1888 and was completed 12 times later, in 1894.The “ Fort Rottemburg » was renamed in 1912″ Fort Hervé » by the French, and now it’s also called Borj El Kebir. It was the first corroborated cement structure ever erected in Morocco. This monument was described in 1906, in the Petit Journal Militaire, Maritime et Colonial, as a kind of concrete gate girdled by deep dikes with precisely masoned banks. 

At the time of its construction, the stronghold was an important political symbol and illustrated, through its history, the political stakes of the moment. While the European powers were still wondering about the future of the Cherifian Kingdom, the struggle for influence was between the French and the Germans. By offering these two cannons, the Germans were trying to attract the good graces of Sultan Moulay Hassan( 1873- 1869), who was desperately trying to keep his country safe from colonization. 

Since its opening in January 2020, the National Museum of Photography has hosted two exhibitions pressing the youthful Moroccan photography scene. The initial exhibition » Sourtna صورتنا  » brought together the prints of eighteen arising and contemporary shutterbugs from all corners of the Kingdom, who questioned through their prints the youth in Morocco, original societies and social diversities while perpetuating scenes of diurnal life. The gallery also hosted an exhibition in cooperation with the Agence Française Presse( AFP) and the French Institute of Morocco. » A nurse distance( s) » which retraces the Covid- 19 epidemic through the cameras of AFP photo reporters and offers us a world stint in unpublished and surprising images, from New York to Moulay Bousselham, through Rio de Janeiro to Gaza. 

Since August 2021, the gallery has been hosting the exhibition » respects sur la jeune scène photographique marocaine ». The photos on display were acquired following a call for competition launched in June 2020 by the FNM, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. In March 2022, the exhibition » Women shutterbugs » opened at the National Museum of Photography. This cultural and collaborative event brings together the prints of 24 shutterbugs through which they express their commitments and their multiple alleviations. The prints are part of different cultural and thematic registers, ranging from searches on the body to multiple sociological and anthropological questions that challenge all women.