The Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Museo Arqueológico Nacional (MAN), Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and the Fondation Nationale des Musées du Royaume du Maroc (FNM) are organising the exhibition 'En torno a las Columnas de Hércules. Ancient relations between Morocco and Spain'.
This exhibition, coordinated under the high patronage of H.M. Mohammed VI, King of Morocco and H.M. Felipe VI, King of Spain, also enjoys the collaboration of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and Friends of the National Archaeological Museum (AMAN).
The main theme of the exhibition, 'En torno a las Columnas de Hércules. Ancient relations between Morocco and Spain', is the neighbourly ties that have united Morocco and Spain throughout history. According to the National Archaeological Museum (MAN), the exhibition focuses on cultural exchange, which "has always been fruitful and marked, even more than politics".
The exhibition aims to reflect "the evolution of these relations, of a changing nature over time, throughout four major periods (from Prehistory to the Modern Age), concluding in the current stage of scientific collaboration between Morocco and Spain in the field of archaeology", according to the museum.
The exhibition also addresses "the nature of the contacts between the two sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, known since ancient times as the Pillars of Hercules, the end of the known world". The geographical panorama has also shaped the personality of two peoples "whose relations have never ceased to flow, regardless of the situations in which they have developed".
As the MAN states, "this exhibition is a unique opportunity to delve into these relations over millennia of cultural exchanges, first established without political structures of a state nature, and then under the influence of external powers, such as the Phoenician and Punic colonisations, and even under the imperial aegis of classical Rome and the subsequent expansion of Islam".
Likewise, "it is an unparalleled opportunity to contemplate in Spain the capital works of Morocco's archaeological heritage, which have very rarely left its territory and have never before been sent to our country. Unique pieces in some cases and most of them of special relevance make up the bulk of an exhibition that will allow us to get to know each other better, reflected in the specular vision of a parallel and sometimes common development over time".
The 335 pieces that make up the exhibition have been loaned by different Moroccan institutions belonging to the Fondation Nationale des Musées (FNM) of the Kingdom of Morocco, specifically the Museums of Rabat, Fez and Tetouan, and the other half to the National Archaeological Museum, as well as a stellar piece from the collections of the Prado Museum.
Mehdi Qotbi, president of the FNM, welcomes this exhibition as "it is absolutely necessary to highlight the shared history and common destiny between the two neighbouring Kingdoms of Morocco and Spain," he told the Moroccan news agency MAP. "The exhibition will be the culmination of several years of work with our Spanish counterparts to remind us that culture is an eternal bridge between the two nations that share a common destiny and a millenary history," he adds.
Qotbi reveals to MAP that Morocco will lend works and pieces that have never been seen anywhere else, not even during the great exhibition at the Louvre. "These exceptional pieces trace our common historical heritage and express the mutual recognition of the neighbourly ties between Morocco and Spain," he says.
The president of the FNM also announced "the presence of high-ranking Spanish personalities, including members of the government and personalities of art and culture", which represents "the place that Morocco occupies among Spaniards and the deep friendship between the two kingdoms".
The exhibition will be on display at the National Archaeological Museum from 25 May to 16 October 2022.