Zakaria Ramhani

Moroccan artist Zakaria Ramhani creates forceful images of faces on canvas by using Arabic calligraphy, sometimes combined with French and English text, to create layers of readable and non-readable prose shaped into faces.

Ramhani has an original style; the colourful, mesmerising portraits he produces draw in the viewer and are meant to evoke feelings of idleness and desolation. Born in 1983 in Tangier, Morocco, Ramhani’s father was a painter who became famous for Moroccan and traditional paintings of scenery, portraits and still-life images. In comments to Art Space gallery, Ramhani said last year: “I use the plasticity, symbolism and aesthetic of writing to reveal and explain the notions of identity, culture and art that are generated by language. In concert with Arabic, the French language became a reality, my reality: the confrontation of cultures that is my life.”

Ramhani, who participated in a creative residency at the Cité Internationale des arts in Paris in 2006, has taken part in numerous exhibitions, among them in Paris, Dubai and Egypt.