Ahmed Cherkaoui

  • Born 1934 in Boujad, Morocco
  • Died 1967 in Casablanca, Morocco
Ahmed Cherkaoui trained under a calligrapher in Casablanca before he moved to Paris in 1956, shortly following Morocco’s independence. There he studied at the École des Métiers d’Art (School of Art Trades) until 1959, then continued his studies at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (National School of Fine Arts) for another year. In 1961 Cherkaoui spent a year at the Akademia Sztuk Pięknych (Academy of Fine Arts) in Warsaw, where he increasingly experimented with burlap (collages) and mixed media. Upon his return to Morocco and later that year to France, his interest in Moroccan forms (Amazighi symbols, Islamic calligraphy, tattoos and handicrafts like pottery and jewelry) grew along with his European influences (Roger Bissière [1886–1964], Paul Klee [1879–1940], and Surrealism). During the early 1960s he abandoned figurative painting and realized his distinct artistic language, painting large canvases with abstract, yet symbolically rich forms in vibrant colors and with highly textured surfaces. Throughout his career Cherkaoui traveled frequently between Europe and North Africa and participated in exhibitions such as the 1962 Salon de Mai and 20 Peintres étrangers (20 Foreign Painters) at the Musée d’Art Moderne (Modern Art Museum) Paris in 1963. Following his death in 1967 an exhibition titled Hommage à Cherkaoui (Homage to Cherakoui) was mounted at the Paris Biennale and the Salon of Sacred Arts at the Musée d’Art Moderne.

Artworks by Ahmed Cherkaoui in the exhibition