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In Conversation: Amine Naima

Born and raised in Safi, Morocco, in a creative environment, Amine Naima was introduced to pottery practice and its aesthetics in his childhood. This has left a lasting impression on him. After studying scenography at “Institut spécialisé dans les métiers du cinema” (ISMC) Ouarzazate, he obtained a professional Bachelor’s degree in cinema, audiovisual and mediation at Cadi Ayad University Marrakech. He has worked as a decorator for music events and interiors and has also developed a pictorial practice in the pottery arts, as well as a keen interest in audio-visual media. Amine Naima won the Green Olive art residency Grant for 2022 Fall and had exhibitions in Morocco, England, the USA, Korea, and Vietnam. Curious and interested in learning and mastering new techniques and concepts, Amine still wishes to expand his range of mediums and subjects.

Amine's paintings are inspired by the geometric grammar of the Afro-Berber culture and ancestral endogenous practices. The abstract patterns, influenced by mathematics, reflect his state of mind and professional experiences in scenography and performing arts staging. Amine's diverse range of subjects and mediums stems from his childhood in Safi, where he learned from master potters, gained knowledge of rich symbols and techniques, and held a deep appreciation for traditional practices. Amine also practices meditative painting, the fundamentals of which he learned from indigenous pottery artisans.

Acrylic on Canvas, 120 cm x 90 cm, 2022

These memories of Amine's childhood nourish and unify his entire multidisciplinary practice. Amine's art is inspired by this mixture of geometric languages that exist in North Africa, Islamic art, endogenous practices that create visual richness, and his studies related to geometry in general, geometry in nature, and art as a whole history. When all these things come together, the result is Amine and his works.

Acrylic on canvas, 59 cm × 59 cm, 2021.

Q: What do you think is crucial for artists, especially Afro-Berber and Moroccan artists, to bring back the influence found in their forgotten roots and challenge the colonial system?

A huge number of artists are already aware of this and working on it actually, and I’m glad of the ones working on other subjects with different points of view because all these ways are part of the whole artistic evolution.

I am inspired by the local culture, but certainly not limited to it, as it can be a source of strength as well as a potential weakness. This project I am working on is a kind of celebration and revaluation of afro-Berber practices (practices that existed in the North African areas for thousands of years), but at the same time, I’m preparing different projects in parallel since I have a broad range of inspirations and subjects I would work on.

During art history academic studies, it was strange that artistic practices from the North African area weren’t mentioned even though we have a lot of visual richness we could work on that made me question many things and start experimenting based on my daily observations and research.

I have already had many geometric influences and sketched a lot using geometric forms, but I wasn’t aware of appreciating what was surrounding me… To challenge this colonial system is to keep seeking knowledge, learning, and searching, then do not follow instructions related to what art is or what it could be, and keep making it our way, which includes art presentations, exhibition spaces, curation, and so many things… Each one is seeking their own way that makes us who we are. Some have this challenge while some do not, and that’s the charm.

Acrylic on Canvas, 40 cm x 40 cm, 2022

Q: What do you think art in North Africa will look like in the future?

If I were talking about North Africa it would be better to mention the entire African diaspora cause this continent is already one and feels like one town today. We got a rich culture and influences we are proud of, which could be reflected in diverse artistic practices. Each person who comes to this continent takes back many things to work on, and inspiration can be found wherever, and African influences are already present on many other continents. Art in Africa is already taking place in the biggest biennales and exhibitions in the world, it’s already great what we see in Africa as Art, I can’t know how it could be exactly, but into greater and greater.

Acrylic on canvas, 60 cm × 60 cm, 2021

Q: What do you hope to achieve in the future?

The future for me is a result of what I’m doing right now. My vision evolves day after day, and I’m always seeking critics, I don’t allow myself to be someone else, to keep a strong link to my past and where I came from, I would make more art, and experience diverse mediums, subjects, and collaborations, I have the choice every moment and won’t limit my dreams in a certain image, I’m open to everything new and better. It seems like an infinite long travel journey, where the road experiences are much more important that the destination itself...Staying curious and following senses can lead to interesting things...

Acrylic on canvas, 60 cm × 60 cm, 2021


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