From 11 to 13 MARS 2022
Mohamed Melehi - Malika Agueznay - Marion Boehm - Mous Lamrabat - Mohamed Lekleti
The act of transmission is born of a need to share and preserve values that define ourselves and the world we live in. Intangible cultural heritage, according to UNESCO, is defined by four characteristics: it is both traditional and contemporary at the same time, inclusive, representative, and based in community. TRANSMISSION IS LOVE embraces this exchange of research and values, from acts of kindness to material experimentation, presenting five artists who share their own experience of the intangible. The artists—Mohamed Melehi, Malika Agueznay, Mohamed Lekleti, MousLamrabet, and Marion Boehm—represent the range of transition from modern tocontemporary art. All five artists manifest their own aesthetic process, whiletogether they endeavour to share their love of heritage and values. Art is thetransmission of their feelings and, for these five, transmission is an act of love.
The first of the five is the late Mohamed Melehi, known throughout the world for hisblending of hard-edge abstraction, exuberant colour, and the geometries of Islamicart. Early in his career, Melehi, the master of the wave, championed the fiercereconnection with artisanal tradition and material experimentation associated withthe Casablanca School movement. He continued to explore new symbolism, fromBerber iconography to cybernetics, and was eager to share his discoveries in thepublic space. In Sufi tradition, he represented the universe and all of its elements inhis work, as Sufis believe that fire, water, the earth and the moon reflect theimmanence of God, and for Melehi, this transmission of his Sufi roots was a gestureof love.
One of Melehi’s students was Malika Agueznay, the pioneering woman artist of theCasablanca School. Known as the Morocco’s pre-eminent printmaker, Agueznay isalso a sculptor and painter, and has developed a cross-disciplinary oeuvre inspiredby the natural world. Like her friends Melehi and Belkahia, her innovative works spanthe transition from modern to contemporary Moroccan art, always with a love ofnature and for all beings. For Transmission is Love, she has created a series of lyricalcalligraphic panels, in which letters adopt the vocabulary of her symbol of choice:seaweed. Here the artist offers up the five values essential to us all: humility, peace,generosity, affection, and gratitude.
Calligraphy, nature, and irreverence combine in the exquisite details of MohamedLekleti’s multi-media work, exploding in a black and white meets colour landscape ofchaos. He recalls the hikaya (legends) that his grandmother would transmit to him asa child, and these fabulous stories developed his own fervent imagination. Animalsand retro-style figures are captured in mid-air amid exquisitely drawn machines,piano, and the abjad flowing from an open shirt collar. Images emerge from the depthof consciousness in a shock of cultural dissonance, resonating with his ownmemories of childhood.
Marion Boehm is a collage artist who divides her time between her native Germanyand her adopted home of South Africa. She explores the universal identity of childrenin her mixed-media on paper series Nomad. Transmission is in her DNA, as shecombines her research into east-west diffusion culture with her experience as apreschool teacher in South Africa. Boehm uses images of children from northernMorocco in this series, integrating and elaborating their stories with bits of textile,sequins, shells. She adds delicate, hand-made objects that evoke millennial tradition,connecting these children to their heritage. In these rich, colourful works, sheweaves the multiple identities of her subjects to show their underlying grace and generosity.
Moroccan-Belgian photographer Mous Lamrabat shapes a parallel universe, filteringhis own brand of African heritage through humour, empathy, and irreverence,reconnecting with themes from his early years to reach out to the child within us all.Brand logos represent his teenage desire for assimilation and the bright world ofcoveted objects. The women in his family are powerful influences in his life, and holdan important place in his work.
Lamrabat blends the lines between cultures, leavingthe viewer free to interpret the mystery of the veil and the power of the brand. ForLamrabat, traditions are open to reinterpretation to create a more perfect, non-binary world, where women are superheroes and racism/discrimination are things ofthe past.
Together, these five artists embrace the past and describe their own individualisticvision for the future, underscoring the specificity of Morocco to find the universalhumanity that we all share. With love.