After three decades of searching and reflexion, Morocco's cultural landscape today reflects the richness of the creative responses to questions concerning a variety of areas: the plastic arts, cinema, theatre, music and literature.
Morocco's painting and sculpture have evolved from contemporary artists' confrontation with their country's vast and vital artistic heritage. The traditional arts are strongly present in every aspect of Moroccan life, from architecture to everyday objects. Artists, faced with these symbolic forms that are so closely bound up with collective imagery, responded by re-evaluating this heritage and incorporating an unmistakably contemporary aesthetic ideal. Cherkaoui, through his study of Arabic calligraphy and the Berber symbols used to decorate both traditional objects and the human body, has succeeded in containing both sign and meaning within a single, intense vibration.
Painters Melehi, Belkahia and Chebaa, who taught painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Casablanca (1968-1971), are among the most active members of Morocco's artistic community, and play an important role in the on-going task of building a national culture. They were the organizers, in 1969, of the "exposition-Manifeste" in Marrakech's Djamaa El Fna Square.
Today, the development of pictorial expression is moving towards the diversification of expression based on individual perceptions and the exploration of artistic possibilities. Belkahia's use of local materials is a good example of this. He paints on leather instead of canvas, using natural pigments which accentuate the sensuality of his shapes and graphic figures. The studied, deliberate brushstrokes of Sufist-inspired painter Rabi seem rooted in the spirit of calligraphy.
Other young artists have achieved international recognition. One of the best known is Kacimi, whose signs and figures painted on huge canvases look as though they are about to take flight.
Bellamine, another young artist, creates density and mystery with layer on layer of color, infused with a joyful transparence that reflects his love of painting.
Photographer Ennadre has traveled the world to photograph the human body in all its states, from birth to death. The powerful suggestiveness of his work is a solemn tribute to the human condition. No discussion of Moroccan painting would be complete without a mention of self-taught artists like Chaibia. Her colorful, sweeping, fabulous and very personal canvasses contain something of the Moroccan countryside where she grew up.