Abdul Hai Al-Malakh: It is necessary to “impose a legal arsenal” to protect intellectual property

Abdul Hai Al-Malakh: It is necessary to “impose a legal arsenal” to protect intellectual property

Abdul Hai Al-Malakh: It is necessary to “impose a legal arsenal” to protect intellectual property

Tuesday – 24 Safar 1444 AH – 20 September 2022 AD Issue No. [

Abdul Hai Al-Malakh

Marrakesh: Abdelkabir El Minawy

A post recently published by the Moroccan plastic artist Abdel Hai Al-Malakh, on his personal account on the social networking site (Facebook), which included his dissatisfaction with the forgery and fraud that affects a number of paintings falsely attributed to him and marketed bearing his signature, sparked an interaction by a number of followers who denounced this. act, declaring their solidarity with him.
Al-Malakh is considered one of the most important Moroccan plastic artists who imposed their mark and presence over decades of artistic practice. The metaphysical is more than its realism. In this dialogue with him, Al-Malakh believes that it is necessary to “impose a legal arsenal” to protect intellectual property rights, calling on artists, their artistic and union bodies, officials, and civil and artistic society to confront the forgery of artworks:
> Tell us about the story of the last post you published on your account on the social networking site “Facebook”, in which you raised the issue of forgery that affected some of your works, and your threat to file a complaint in the matter.
– The issue goes back more than ten years, when some forged works bearing my signature began to be promoted in the market. Every 3 or 4 months, a forged work appeared to me bearing my signature, although I had nothing to do with what was offered for sale, whether in terms of style or artistic imprint.
> Who is standing, in your opinion, behind the operation?
– There are special pros, who forge works of art. It is not only about my work, but also the work of a number of other Moroccan artists. Counterfeit works are now circulating in the market, which is regrettable.
> I waved to file a complaint. Is that enough? Is there a viable solution?
– We need to impose a legal arsenal.
> The artist has his own field of action, which is to focus, primarily, on the creative process. Does the artist have to bear the responsibility to confront forgery and piracy, or does the responsibility belong to specific institutions and bodies?
The artist has to draw attention. We propose laws that we submit to the legislator, who reviews and studies them and compares them with international laws so that they come out in a framework that meets the legal needs. The artistic and syndicate bodies and the artistic and cultural civil society should draw attention to what is happening, which not only affects the field of plastic art, but also includes other cultural fields. We are facing piracy and fraud, which have nothing to do with human and legal. My artistic name, and the level of work I do, I am tired of sculpting it over six decades of practice, and this time range is not an easy thing. I put my signature on a work that has nothing to do with my plastic experience and my artistic path, in its many transformations and stations.
I am very upset. There are those who want to make a quick profit. My artistic life was not easily formed, but I worked hard to make it successful. It is unfortunate that someone put my signature on a work of art and sold it for a thousand dirhams, while the value of one of my works is about 150,000 dirhams (15,000 dollars).
> What role should the Ministry of Culture play, as a guardian of the cultural sector?
– The Ministry does not have any involvement so far in what is happening. Moroccan law says that forging a painting is like forging a document, knowing that the artwork has its privacy, which requires that there be a specialized judiciary, in which the interfering has knowledge of the art world, as long as the forgery of the artwork has special techniques.
> There is no doubt that what happens to you and other Moroccan artists is happening all over the world. Why not draw inspiration from international experiences in dealing with this issue?
We haven’t reached that level yet. We need experts first. The Moroccan judiciary is honest and honorable, and it needs to be supported by honest experts and specialized training. An expert in the field of art is not sufficient for him to be a study and follower of the works of artists and familiar with the history of art, but rather to be an expert and specialist in the works of several artists, not all artists. In Europe, for example, we find an expert who specializes only in the works of two or three artists, who have an accumulation of artistic and creative experience, and therefore require specialization and focus from the expert.
> What about the works of the departed Moroccan artists?
Immediately after the artist’s departure, the art market becomes filthy with his forged works. This is unfortunate. The legislator is the one who can stop what is happening. The legislature is still absent, and we, as artists, have to take initiatives in this matter. We are in a situation that troubles the conscience of Moroccan artists, and they are afraid of their heritage, and that their works may be forged, in a way that discredits the art market and shakes confidence in it.
> Let’s go back to your personal experience, how many forged works you stood on, which bear your signature?
– Seven, only in the last two years, have I reached a number of people asking for certificates confirming their authenticity. I would answer them that it is fake, and that it is not possible and unreasonable.
> How do you feel when you stand on a forged work bearing your signature? What about the painting, the topic of the last post?
You find yourself in front of shoddy works that do not reflect your experience, forged and mechanically drawn. The painting, the subject of the last post, was sent to me via WhatsApp from a friend, who said he had come across it for sale. I told him that the work was a forgery, and that I had already come across the painting from another friend six months ago, and that it was inspired by my work, and not a copy of an original painting. I added that my signature had been placed on it in flagrant forgery, and I threatened to file a complaint with the king’s attorney.
> Does this situation not harm the artistic market, and affect what we might call a Moroccan “cultural industry”?
– Of course, this damages the reputation and credibility of the art market. Whoever loves art and loves collecting antiques and paintings will lose confidence, and he will not buy a late artist’s painting, for example. When someone acquires one of my paintings, he asks me for a certificate confirming the authenticity of the work.


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