Mohammed Melehi

  • Born 1936 in Asilah, Morocco

Mohammed Melehi is a significant figure in Moroccan modernism. From 1953 to 1955, he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) in Tétouan, Morocco. Melehi subsequently spent six years studying in Seville, Madrid, Rome and Paris. He received a Rockefeller Foundation scholarship to study at Columbia University in New York from 1962 to 1964. Melehi has used the motif of the wave in his painting since the 1960s in various ways, typically with a bold color palette and hard-edge lines. On his return to Morocco, Melehi became a professor of painting, sculpture and photography at the École des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) of Casablanca. At this time Melehi co-founded the Casablanca Group, who believed in exploring the tenets of modernism through local Moroccan visual language and traditions. Melehi was involved with the leftist journal Souffles from 1966 to 1969 and was founding director of the cultural publication Intégral from 1972 to 1977. He organized the first Moroccan open-air exhibition in 1969 in Marrakesh. In 1978 he founded an annual arts festival in his hometown, Asilah. Melehi was the arts director at the Ministry of Culture from 1985 to 1992 and Cultural Consultant to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation from 1999 to 2002.