Mous Lamrabat focuses on peace, care and love in his most recent exhibition

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‘Luv Ryders, 2021 © Mous Lamrabat/ Loft Art Gallery.

Opening his show at Foam Amsterdam today, the Moroccan photographer blends commercial icons with rich, cultural personal references to ‘deconstruct the notion associated with normal’

A figure stands swathed in shimmering pink fabric against the muted orange curves of an empty desert picture. A woman sits upon the horse, her all-white clothing covered in bright red-colored hearts. Two people stand side by side looking directly into the camera, their long, pearlescent attire emblazoned with slogans that read, ‘WARNING EXPLICIT BEAUTY’ and ‘STOP TERRORISING OUR OWN WORLD’.  

These are just some of the surreal and playful images we can expect to notice in Moroccan artist Mous Lamrabat’s forthcoming exhibition, Benefits from Mousganistan , opening at Foam Amsterdam on 28 Might and running until 16 October.

Mashallah with more cheese, 2021 © Mous Lamrabat/ Loft Art Gallery.

Lamrabat – who was born in the north of The other agents but moved to the region associated with Flanders, Belgium, when he or she was young – draws on his North African and European identities when making function. He employs different cultural symbols in the same pictures to represent his diasporic experience. Where shrouded body are a nod towards his Muslim heritage, globally recognized brands and symbols arrive in his pictures too, inviting us to view them in new and unexpected ways and challenging what we view as ‘normal’. In one photograph, for instance, a young woman ensemble in rich blue light wears an earring within the shape of the McDonald’s golden arches. In another, a man in a motorcycle helmet wears an Arabic thobe printed with the Nike tick logo design.  

In 2019, Lamrabat was one of British Journal associated with Photography’s Ones to Watch. “It’s important to talk about my customs, ” he told BJP . “Whatever happens in these times, I simply want to show that we are creative, we have such a high culture. It’s beautiful. ” That impulse has flourished as Lamrabat has grown as an artist, and particularly in the recent work his seeks are twofold. He expectations to conjure a soothing space for the viewer – eclectic, colourful and heated, where politics of care and peace are privileged, hence his coining of the word ‘Mousganistan’ which signifies an ideal, imaginary place of their own invention. But he furthermore uses his images like icons to confront designs such as racism and religious beliefs, women’s rights and migration.

Blessings from Mousganistan promises a “fascinating utopia” when you step inside the art gallery walls. The experience is made all-encompassing through the artist’s experiments along with presentation, such as superimposing his photographs in large lenticular prints. Lamrabat wants to pull people closer to his images than ever before, and invite a romantic engagement with them. At the end of the particular exhibition, an installation of general prayer flags will take on the space. A powerful visual declaration to accompany the designs of his photographs, this is Lamrabat’s response to the continuing movement of refugees across the world – and a poignant tip to his audience to look out for one another.  

Blessings from Mousganistan is at Froth Amsterdam until 16 October 2022.

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Warning, 2021 © Mous Lamrabat/ Loft Art Gallery.

Joanna Cresswell

Joanna L. Cresswell is an article writer and editor based in Brighton. She has written on picture taking and culture for over forty international magazines and periodicals, and held positions while editor for organisations including The Photographers’ Gallery, Unseen Amsterdam and Self Publish, End up being Happy. She recently finished an MA in relative literature and criticism at Goldsmiths College, University of London

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