OMAR MAHFOUDI

 

Tangier, January 1981.

 

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.

For 15 years I have been thing this way and working on those ideas. Now they are behind me, digested. For the last two years, I have been looking at the

world from a political and humanist point of view, and this gives birth to a new axis of work.The "military" series in 2015 is an example. The one on « Palmyra" in 2016 is another one. Just like the one dealing with the migrants cause that I am starting today, with ultra-contemporary references

 based on the news but more classical as well, referring to the history of art.

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