Vanessa Branson opened her first art gallery in London in 1986 and built an extensive private collection of works by artists including William Kentridge, Fred Pollock and David Shrigley. Today her artworks hang throughout the public spaces and bedrooms at El Fenn.
Dine in the restaurant under a stunning chandelier created by Francis Upritchard or curl up with a book in the library next to a work by British Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj. On your bedroom walls you might find a series of ink studies by Sir Antony Gormley or a set of photographs taken Terence Donovan on a trip to Morocco in the 1960s.
In the corridors, you’ll see dappled light filtering from pressure cookers transformed into conceptual art by Batoul S’Himi, while Guy Tillim’s arresting series of portraits of Congolese boy soldiers hangs outside the restaurant.
A keen collector of Arabic artists, Vanessa’s desire to celebrate their diverse creativity resulted in the creation of the Marrakech Biennale. Beginning in 2005 as a gathering of arts enthusiasts who organised literary events and exhibitions, the event has grown to become internationally recognised with a thriving visual art and literature programme.
Hear Vanessa talk about the creation of El Fenn and the Marrakech Biennale at TEDxCasablanca in February 2014