Biography

Self-taught artist Anuar Khalifi was born in 1977 in Lloret de Mar, Spain. Currently based between Barcelona and Tangier, Khalifi creates richly detailed and vibrant paintings that reward the keen eye with their captivating layers of meaning. Within these layers, the artist explores a wide range of themes such as identity, duality, diaspora, orientalism, colonialism, extremism, and consumerist society. 

 

Khalifi's paintings demonstrate his understanding of both the stylistic elements and the socio-political spirit of neo-impressionism. Mixing fact and fiction to confront stereotypes about the Middle East, his works are at times ironic and humorous, evoking a childlike naivety as the artist dismantles the canon of orientalism. 

 

Khalifi spent a great deal of time as a child drawing, a pastime that informs his practice today, particularly in his color palette and arrangement of characters. Typically, autobiographical in nature, the figures include adolescents, young adults, and occasionally an older male and are often depicted in an absurd setting or mischievous act. The bold use of color reinforces the youthful, playful tone, however, Khalifi subverts popular culture to leave subtly sophisticated reminders that his work is layered with topical social discourse. Focusing on the journey of the individual, Khalifi inventively maps out the surroundings that his characters inhabit, settings that encourage discussions around spirituality and mortality. The artist deliberately leaves space within the narratives engaging the viewer and creating a private intimacy that allows for freedom, authenticity, and ecstasy to reign unimpeded.

 

Khalifi highlights the persistent misrepresentation observed by those straddling more than one culture or place. Omnipresent within the state, media, and religion, Khalifi exposes how this warping of Eastern and Western iconography disrupts the human comprehension of reality.  Challenging notions of identity, society, and justice, Khalifi's work considers the outcomes of a state in which spirituality disappears only to be replaced by mediocrity and the denial of the self. With skepticism dominating modern thought, dismissing all that cannot be measured, Khalifi considers the modern role of tradition, language, and understanding. His unique blend of fictional characters posed against brand imagery creates an experience of a world that spans across realities, bridging visuals of the past with that of a globalized contemporary culture.

 

His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions such as; The Third Line at Cromwell Place, Cromwell Place, London, UK (2021); Personal Mythologies, Galerie Julien Cadet, Paris, France (2020); Forever Is A Current Event, The Third Line, Dubai (2019); Dust, Roses & cockroaches, Galerie Shart, Casablanca, Morocco (2018); El niño que le dolía el cuello de tanto mirar el cielo, Plom gallery, Barcelona, Spain (2016); DESORIENTE- BCN, The Mothership, Barcelona, Spain (2015); Les nouvelles créations artistiques, Bank Al-Maghrib, Rabat, Morocco (2015); DESORIENTE, Yakin and Boaz Gallery, Casablanca, Morocco (2014); A New Hope, Galeria Mitte Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (2012); Tourists go home, Galerie Kandisha, Paris, France (2012); Now, Biennale, Marrakech, Morocco (2012); Blast, Mastermind (GVCC), Casablanca, Morocco (2012); Boys don't cry, Artingis, Tangier, Morocco (2011); Fast Food, Les Insolites, Tangier, Morocco (2011).

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