Contemporary Moroccan art and artists

Nadia Echiguer introduces us to the exuberant, stimulating, colourful world of Moroccan art via Moroccan Fine Art, an online gallery that showcases work by some of the country's most talented artists.

By Abby Trow
Calligraphy is a feature of works by Mustapha Amnaine

Many artists have travelled to Morocco to paint, but the country's own contemporary artists are among its best-kept secrets. However businesswoman Nadia Echiguer, who moved to London from Rabat in 2007, has an online gallery to promote their talents to a wider audience. Pictured above is an abstract mixed media on canvas work, 80x80cms, by Mustapha Amnaine (B 1957, Marrakesh).

Eugene Delacroix is one of the most famous painters to have exalted in the light of Morocco. He wrote that 'the rare and precious sun gives intense life to everything', and many an artist has followed in his footsteps to try to capture that light in their work. But the country's own artists have grown up in that intense sunlight and its influence can be felt in the warmth of their works.

Nadia Echiguer, who grew up in Rabat and moved to London several years ago, wants to share her country's art with an international audience and her new online venture, Moroccan Fine Art, presents paintings, sculpture and drawing from a some of the country's talented artists.

Some, such as Noureddine Chater and Larbi Cherkaoui use Arabic calligraphy on their striking modern abstract paintings to juxtapose past and present. Works are made on canvas, wood or in the case of Cherkaoui, he will sometimes use goatskin, while Karim Attar hand-makes his own paper.

Douja Ghannam (b 1940) is known for the naive, childlike, magical quality of her imagery. Oil on can
Landscape by Rachid Hanbali. 100x73cms. POA
Figurative work, 40x60cms, by Said Qodaid
Oil on canvas by Douja Ghannam, 30x30cms
Mixed media on canvas, 80x40cms, by Noureddine Chater
Oil and acrylic ink on goat skin, by Larbi Cherkaoui

Moroccan contemporary art is, of course, hugely diverse, as can be seen in Moroccan Fine Art's collections. Douja Ghannam's colourful paintings have a magical, childlike quality that evokes tales from The Arabian Nights, while Said Quodaid uses intense colour to depict scenes of rural life.

Nadia Echiguer's own interest in art stems from her grandfather's collection of paintings, and he would remind her that 'a home without art is a home without soul'. 

Landscape by French fine art photographer Jean-Claude Laffitte, who lives in Morocco

Prices of artworks from £600. For more details contact Moroccan Fine Art.