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Dalloul Art Foundation
MOHAMED AREJDAL MOHAMED AREJDAL

MOHAMED AREJDAL, Morocco (1984)

Bio

Written by Mysa Kafil-Hussain"I thus explore the way in which we inhabit spaces, in which we share territories and above all, the way in which these parameters constantly reconfigure our...

Written by Mysa Kafil-Hussain

"I thus explore the way in which we inhabit spaces, in which we share territories and above all, the way in which these parameters constantly reconfigure our relationship to the Other" Mohamed Arejdal, 2016[1]

Born in 1984 in a city named Guelmim in southern Morocco, Mohamed Arejdal has since become an innovative young artist who thrives on tackling themes such as migration, geography, travel and traditions. Arejdal lived in his hometown until the age of seventeen, with his only trips being to neighbouring towns when necessary.[2] After winning a children’s art competition, Arejdal was encouraged to pursue art as a career. However, in 2002, he failed the entrance examination for an art school in Essaouira, and living in fear of his dreams of becoming an artist never coming to fruition, he decided to leave the country. He crossed the Mediterranean sea, hoping to reach Europe - which he considered the “paradise of art and artists”[3] - via the Canary Islands.

Arejdal’s quest to settle in Europe ultimately failed, and after spending some time in a Spanish prison, he returned back to Morocco, where he completed his baccalaureate and then enrolled in the Institut National des Beaux-Arts in Tetouan in 2005, graduating in 2009. Arejdal initially fell in love with painting; however, over time he began to think bigger, creating innovative and extremely creative installations. Traveling within Morocco, and also across Mauritania and Senegal, Arejdal uses the encounters he has with various communities to inspire his work, exploring a range of traditions, stories and various regional interpretations of the human figure and human nature.[4] His work takes on a number of forms, and he is rarely committed to one specific theme or one specific medium, taking nomadic culture beyond its literal interpretation (his physical explorations of different habitats, especially southern Morocco) and into his practice. He also refuses to be limited or restricted in terms of space and place, preferring to spread his work out from his studio into the public arena, often involving visitors and viewers in his performances.[5]

One consistent theme visible in Arejdal’s work is the practice of mapmaking, plans and diagrams. Clearly linked to his inherent desire for travel and forging connections with the wider world, these visual tools provide the basis for these journeys of the mind, body and soul. Topics such as exile, mass movement and religion also arise in his work, using objects of “memory” such as suitcases and clothing as optical trigger points in his installations.[6] Arejdal’s 2012 piece ‘Valise’, part of the Dalloul Collection, is a significant example of this aspect of his work. Using mixed media, he created a suitcase structure in the form of a map of Palestine, drawing on the struggles of Palestinian refugees and their lives in exile ever since the 1948 Nakba. When discussing the work, Arejdal himself refers to poetry written by famed Palestinian poet and author, Mahmoud Darwish, who wrote “my homeland is not a suitcase and I am not a traveller”, to which Arejdal laments “yet Palestine has turned into a suitcase and the Palestinian has become a permanent traveller to the rest of the world.”[7] Arejdal is not afraid to bring politics into his work, especially with regards to his own country, Morocco, or for other causes around the world which he is passionate about, with Palestinian solidarity as a key example.

The artist’s colourful life, full of adventure and misadventure from a young age, was the inspiration for a graphic novel published in 2014, entitled ‘Amazigh, Route of Free Men’.[8] However, his adventures are far from over, and the obstacles he has faced have never stopped him. Whether by foot, by car or by camel, Arejdal finds a way to make his journeys, meet numerous fascinating individuals (who in turn influence his practice), encounter exciting and vibrant cultures, and observe cultural and human loss and injustice (“it is our common responsibility to talk about it and to question people in turn”[9]).  Yet he always makes it back home to southern Morocco: “I am a voice from the South”,[10] he proclaims, and despite once being so desperate to leave, he is now firmly at home in his country.

Over the last twenty years, Arejdal has exhibited widely across Morocco and the wider Middle East, and has had several artist residencies in Rabat, Amman and Paris.[11] He lives, works and teaches in Morocco to this day.

[1] Culturieuse: “Mohamed Arejdal (1984) - Randonnées Marocaines”, Culturieuse – biodiversité artistique, November 25, 2016, https://culturieuse.blog/2016/11/25/mohamed-arejdal-1984/

[2] Oumayma Aljarrai, “Mohamed Arejdal : Parcours d’un battant”, OnOrient, October 5, 2015,  https://tour.onorient.com/2015/10/05/mohamed-arejdal-parcours-dun-battant/

[3] Ibid

[4] Culturieuse: “Mohamed Arejdal (1984) - Randonnées Marocaines”

[5] Le Cube: “Mohamed Arejdal”, Le Cube – Independent Art Room, Rabat, N.d., https://lecube-art.com/artiste/mohamed-arejdal/?lang=en

[6] Le Cube: “Mohamed Arejdal”

[7] Mohamed Arejdal, “Documentation: Mohamed Arejdal”, Mobility Hub Africa, N.d., http://www.mobilityhubafrica.org/profile/docs/673/Portefolio_Med_AREJDAL-1.pdf

[8] Aljarrai, “Mohamed Arejdal : Parcours d’un battant”

[9] Siham Jadraoui, “Mohamed Arejdal, «le messager»”, Aujourd’hui Le Maroc, December 26, 2019,http://aujourdhui.ma/culture/mohamed-arejdal-le-messager

[10] Ibid

[11] Arejdal, “Documentation: Mohamed Arejdal”

Sources

Aljarrai, Oumayma. “Mohamed Arejdal : Parcours d’un battant”. OnOrient. October 5, 2015. Accessed February 2021. https://tour.onorient.com/2015/10/05/mohamed-arejdal-parcours-dun-battant/

Arejdal, Mohamed. “Documentation: Mohamed Arejdal”. Mobility Hub Africa. N.d., Accessed February 2021. http://www.mobilityhubafrica.org/profile/docs/673/Portefolio_Med_AREJDAL-1.pdf

Culturieuse: “Mohamed Arejdal (1984) - Randonnées Marocaines”. Culturieuse – biodiversité artistique. November 25, 2016. Accessed February 2021. https://culturieuse.blog/2016/11/25/mohamed-arejdal-1984/

Jadraoui, Siham. “Mohamed Arejdal, «le messager»”. Aujourd’hui Le Maroc. December 26, 2019. Accessed February 2021.

http://aujourdhui.ma/culture/mohamed-arejdal-le-messager

Le Cube: “Mohamed Arejdal”. Le Cube – Independent Art Room, Rabat. N.d.. Accessed February 2021. https://lecube-art.com/artiste/mohamed-arejdal/?lang=en       

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CV

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2019

Ressala, Comptoir des Mines, Marrakech, Morocco

2010

Anti-Contexte 2, La Maison de la Culture de Tétouan, Tétouan, Morocco
Oui, J’ai besoin de toi, Riad Gacela, Tétouan, Morocco

Selected Group Exhibitions

2018

Traversées, Comptoir des Mines, Marrakech, Morocco

2016

Volumes Fugitifs: Faouzi Laatiris et l’Institut National des Beaux-Arts de Tétouan, Musée Mohamed VI d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Rabat, Morocco
KawKaw, 18 Derb el Ferrane, Marrakech, Morocco

2015

Much Silence, 18 Derb el Ferrane, Marrakech, Morocco
Consider Yourself Invited
(in collaboration with the Random Institute), Belluard Bollwerk, Fribourg, Switzerland

2014

Contemporary Morocco, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France

2012

PLPAC, Institut Francais, Rabat, Morocco
Between Walls, Rabat, Morocco
Cette Fois, Le Sujet est Personnel, Makan, Amman, Jordan

2011

De Nord en Sud: Aller-Retour, La Halle, Pont-en-Royans, France

2010

Mahata, Cinématèque de Tanger, Tanger, Morocco

2008

L’Institut Espagnol Cervantes de Tétouan, Tétouan, Morocco

2007

La Galerie du Centre Culturel Espagnol de Tanger, Tanger, Morocco
Anti-Contexte 1, La Maison de la Culture de Salé Jadida, Morocco
Eldorado
, Centre Culturel Al Andalous à Martil, Morocco
Recados, Toledo, Spain

2004

Le 4ème Festival National des Jeunes à Bouzouki, Casablanca, Morocco

Public Exhibitions

2010

Le 17éme Festival International d’Art Vidéo, Casablanca, Morocco

2009

Festival Thé-Art, Villa des Arts, Rabat, Morocco

2008

La XIIIéme Biennale des Jeunes Créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, Puglia, Bari, Italy

2007

La 1er édition du Festival Saga Africa, Rabat, Morocco

2006

Festival des Arts Vivants à Casablanca, Casablanca, Morocco

Collections

Ramzi & Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon

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Videos

MOHAMED AREJDAL Artwork

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