Omar Mahfoudi
Information Contact
Éditeur de définition
Ils aiment
Name: Border Independent Art Factory Arts & loisirs
Personne Référence: Omar Mahfoudi
Phone: +212-661-450745 / +212-667-151845

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Description Scientifique
Omar Mahfoudi’s natural artistic roots pushed through a topsoil of struggle, when his intrinsic artist’s intuition and fascination with the human condition faced off against religious and societal issues in his native Tangier.\r
It is a battle he brought into the open, as he clothes his questions about the nature of existence, his consciousness of the human body and human emotions and conditions in the striking acrylic paintings on canvas of “In Art We Trust,” his upcoming exhibit at Enso in Half Moon Bay.\r
The exhibit, which will be celebrated with an opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22 at Enso at 131 Kelly Ave. in Half Moon Bay, will run through the month of February.\r
Mahfoudi was drawing before he was writing and before he even knew what art was.\r
“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,” he wrote in his artist’s statement.\r
An early teacher spotted his gift and encouraged it, though “it was not one that was encouraged by my society/religion,” he wrote.\r
Specifically, he parted ways with his culture’s restrictions on eroticism and on pondering questions of existence.\r
“The body is constantly at the fore of my vision, and especially mutilated bodies, which are present in the large handicapped population of Tangier who are not hidden, but instead work or beg,” he wrote in his statement. “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.”\r
His paintings cover several large canvases, and a few medium-sized and smaller ones too. Some are already-painted canvases he bought from a friend and covered over with new paintings.\r
Part of a series of what he calls “portraits psychologique” in his native French tongue (or psychologically-oriented paintings,) many of them present compelling studies of faces radiating emotion, with the rawness and immediacy of “primitive” art.\r
“Most of my paintings are representations of humans,” he said. “I have a kind of obsession about the representation of humans, the animal instincts we have.”\r
He freely notes that the title of his exhibit is borrowed from the $1 bill, which appears in some of his artworks peeking out of an envelope covered with drawings of animals.\r
At age 18, Mahfoudi “started exploring different styles of painting until I found my own vocabulary,” which was one of bold lines, strong color, arresting texture, compelling expression and a sense of urgency rivaling that of Picasso. That is one of Mahfoudi’s favorites among artists of whom he learned through books (not available in Tangier but brought to him by European friends.)\r
He is presently experiencing his first visit to America. He has a three-month residence in the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. While there, he will explore not only his first love of painting, but his exploration of video and sculpture.\r
Through those, he explores the culture shock he found coming from conservative Tangier to the United States, experiencing his first impressions of the this country and of the freedom of women here.\r
“How you express yourself is something you have inside. The most important thing for me is how I can express some things,” he said.\r
“It’s a big pleasure to me to share my work,” he said. “I consider that art is my religion. It’s the most beautiful way of talking about the human condition and your own existence.”\r
By Stacy Trevenon

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