In Memory of Farid Belkahia
(15 November 1934- 25 September 2014)
On behalf of all the members of AMCA, we extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Farid Belkahia, who passed away on September 25th in Marrakech at the age of 79.
Born November 15, 1934 in Marrakech, Farid Belkahia is considered one of the forerunners of modern art in Morocco. After completing his training at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he became the director of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Casablanca from 1962-1974. Though he began his career with oil on canvas, he later turned to working with copper and then with leather dyed with henna, speaking to the traditional crafts of Morocco. Throughout his work, he sampled Moroccan visual symbols from textiles, tattoos, the Amazigh alphabet, and architecture. In the words of Holiday Powers, he “re-constituted and re-imagined [these symbols] to become an integral part of his modernist visual vocabulary.”
Moreover, Belkahia played a crucial role in the artistic discourse and pedagogical development of arts training in Morocco, in his position as director of the art school as well as a leader of the Casablanca Group. His work has been exhibited widely, from the Djemaa al-Fna in Marrakech to the Baghdad and Venice Biennials.
AMCA expresses its sympathies to those who knew and loved Belkahia, and acknowledges the passing of one of the leaders of modern art in the Arab world. He will always be present through his work.
For a more complete biography, see Holiday Powers’s entry at the Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World.