Milan Hermes

Adam Belarouchia | Scars, stitches, a boy, a teacher and a few big mouths

Image: Adam Belarouchia

Meet Adam Belarouchia, current resident at the Thami Mnyele Studio in Amsterdam. This young artist from Morocco has received awards since his studies at the Institute of Fine Arts in Tetouan. 

Image: © Adam Belarouchia

For his work Ana hna (I am here) he received the Grand Prix Aïcha de l’Animation. Adam continued to study the comic and animation track in Tetouan. His views on education and the urban culture of Morocco are visible in his final examination: a short comic book about a boy who tried to stand out in class, but was forced to wear a uniform by his teacher. Both characters are portrayed as mouths, the rest of the class as ears. The use of clever, insider metaphors is prominent in Adam’s work. One of these metaphors, the stitch, has become his trademark. It represents the scars on criminal’s bodies in Morocco as a demonstration of toughness and strength, like the tattoo’s of US gang members. In Morocco, criminals also rub garlic on their blades to prevent wounds from healing, leaving scars on the bodies of their victims.

Image: © Adam Belarouchia

Since taking up residence at the Thami Mnyele Studio, Adam’s work can be read as an indictment against Morocco’s social environment. Although this blog only focuses on his recent work, the variety of his practice, which has won him several awards, is well worth checking out.

Image: © Adam Belarouchia

The Thami Mnyele Foundation was established in 1990. Its goal is to facilitate a cultural exchange of artists from Africa and the diaspora, with Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The residency is named after the South African artist and freedom fighter Thami Mnyele who was assassinated in 1985 by the white minority regime. 

The Thami Mnyele foundation hosts two full and one short residency programme each year. The selection of artists is competitive and thoroughly reviewed. Once selected for a full residency program, the artist is invited to live and work in the Amsterdam. The full residency program includes an allowance, reimbursement of the return ticket, insurance and an introduction to the Dutch art scene through the Foundation’s large network.

Image: © Adam Belarouchia

Read an interview with Adam Belarouchia by Myrim Sahraoui here.

Belarouchia will take part in a conversation about art and Morocco at Zina Salon in Amsterdam on Friday 7 December, 2018, 4 pm. More information here.

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