Atla(s)now is a community platform for cross-disciplinary collaboration created by Angelo Bellobono (artist and ski coach) to explore the potential of art and skiing to positively enrich communities on the Higher Morroccan Atlas mountains.
The project activities are realized through an artists-in-residence program and mountain professionals training for local ski instructors and mountain guides. As a relational art project, the artists in residence are invited to prepare a site specific work and workshops along with the community, by using local resources and labor to create the first Atlas Spread Out Museum, using art to share ideas and involving the Amazigh people into the social activities.
The mountain professionals are invited to organize specific training for local ski instructors and mountain guides, to empower their knowledge and to ensure an high standard level of safety for the mountains activities, proposing to kids and adult a better, respectful and safe opportunity of work on the mountains helpful to reinforce the local microeconomy.
The Atla(s)now project is enriched by this cultural exchange, through the opportunity to study and engage the Amazigh values and culture.
The area in which the project operates is located in the beautiful scenario of the Toubkal national park.
Imlil is a small village in the high Atlas Mountains of Morocco, 1740 metres above sea level. It is the centre of mountain tourism in Morocco due to its unique position. From here 90% of visitors head up to Toubkal, the highest mountain in Morocco.
Oukaimeden is a small ski resort located about 80 kilometres from Marrakech. The skiing area is at the altitude between 2600 and 3200 metres and it has a couple of lifts.
Asni is a small town in the foothills of the High Atlas mountains near Marrakech.
The aims is to establish the project and uses a partecipatory development approach, that includes beneficiaries as active partners of the development process of the local offers through:
- Artist residency and realization of the Atlas Spread Out Museum with the artworks created in situ;
- Training and updating of the local ski instructors and mountain guides;
- Creation of a ski rent with the equipment donated by italian ski rent;
- Activation of a local micro-economy (through the use of local resources for artistic and cultural production);
- Ensuring the continuity of the project over years;
- Enhancement of the professionalism and talent of locals;
- Activation of the fundamental concepts of decentralization, sharing and dissemination of thought, contents, containers and works of art;
- Support and scholarships for Moroccan's artists, ski instructors and guides, invited periodically in Italy activating a cultural bridge and a continuous process of training, update and exchange.
- Realization of a documentary about all the activities
The cross-disciplinary aspect, such as art and skiing, makes Atla(s)now a project of relational and community art, in which the object and the action become a place for discussion, where the art-making process, the discovery of the other, and the shared experience take centre stage. It’s a model to bring the contemporary art outside from the usual container and add a new sense to the artists practice.
For this reason, all the training activities related to skiing and the mountain, along with their educational function, represent a playground on which to enable performative actions and shared experiences, in which the body and the gesture play an important role in the construction of thought and of relations between men and territories.
Angelo Bellobono, the founder of the project, is a visual artist based in Rome and New York. His works explore the constant efforts humans make to seek out an identity and a place in which to belong. Having spent two decades as a ski instructor and coach, Bellobono has lived in various mountain ranges around the world. The elements of ice and mountains are frequent metaphorical elements in his work; ice representing the planet’s archival memory, and mountains depicted as hinges and not barriers, connecting different cultures rather than dividing them.
The story of the mountains, the snow and the ice of Africa quadrimensionally characterizes the work by Angelo Bellobono. A story that establish a new concept of humankind, places and borders, and also building codes and frameworks of communication to relate, both profitably and humanly, to the place and to its community, intertwining life and professional skills.
In 2011 he created the Atla(s)now project in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to tell a different story of Africa, a new model to build awareness and social connectivity.
Alessandro Facente: independent art critic and curator, artist residency program curator.
Aniko Boehler: anthropologist, Mountain Propre co-founder.
Mike McHugo: entrepreneur, owner of the Kasbah du Toubkal and of the residency building Dar Toubkal.
Carla Ciatto: photographer, producer and project assistant.
Students and Alumni from ESAV - Marrakech school of visual arts
Artists in residence
Local artisans and population
Local ski instructors