jeudi 6 janvier 2011


Artist Statement

Art is my self-therapy through which I explore unrelentingly my unknown nature. I started drawing before I knew how to write and before I knew what art was. It was something that came naturally to me and allowed me to explore other images and destinies than were given to me by my society, ie. Orientalist visions of the self, or ending up on the street or unemployed. I was lucky enough to have a teacher in middle school who recognized that I had that ability, though it was not one that was encouraged by my society/religion, and from then on I became interested in the history of art.

Through painting, photography and video, I try to reinvent and rewrite the history of the human being by way of emotions because I come from a culture in which representational art is prohibited. Likewise, in my culture, eroticism is restricted to a hypocritical and fenced off section of life, though the sensual is a very important part of it. The body is constantly at the fore of my vision, and especially mutilated bodies, which are present in the large handicap population of Tangier who are not hidden, but instead work or beg. I try to bring questions of the body and sexuality into daily life through the eroticism of paint.
At the same time, in my culture, we are not allowed to question our own existence because everything is explained through the story of religion and we are not allowed to doubt societal and even political conventions because religious law dictates how we live our lives.

I started drawing when I was very young and when I turned eighteen I started exploring different styles of painting until I found my own vocabulary of images without any teachers but the great painters I learned about through books some Europeans who liked my work brought me from Europe because the books were not available in Tangier.

About three years ago, after participating in a documentary filmmaking workshop called DocMaroc at the Cinémathèque de Tanger, a new cultural center in the city, I started working with digital media such as HD. I took the tools I learned in this workshop to the streets of Tangier to explore the political situation that is never talked about in my hometown, which is fast-becoming a tourist destination and retirement destination for ageing Europeans. A certain image of Tangier exists to sell it to these newcomers, but the real political problems stay hidden.

Through my experiences and my acquaintances and friendships with people around me, I gain their confidence and the screenplay becomes already written between us without my imposed intervention. I think of my video work as painting, as plastic cinema instead of plastic arts. My work “Trance” is a self-portrait of the artist as schizophrenic and paranoid at the same time as the world feeds this paranoia with manipulated images. The work is both metaphysical and supremely physical.

About the video trance: A trance is a half-conscious mental state characterized by an absence of external stimulae. Here I envision the images intrinsic to my nature.