Khadija El Abyad

Khadija El Abyad is a multidisciplinary artist, born in Agadir in 1991. Currently, El Abyad lives and works nomadically between Rabat and other locations. Her practice revolves around "body screens" in multitudinous dimensions: the intimate, the cultural and the social. The notion of co-ownership is adopted by the artist as a character and medium from which the revelation of the sensitive emerges, enabling the artist to translate her social commitments into her future. Her research is nourished by reflection on materials and objects that have a symbolic charge—particularly those that extend from or are produced by the body, such as hair. Through her multidisciplinary practice, she performs to disrupt and counter the coded clichés that surround the female body and the contemporary societal body at large.

During her residency at Moussem, El Abyad continues her research into the organic matter of henna as a mould towards an ornamental grammar.

"I'd like to experiment with what I've started working on and thinking about in relation to the work DÉESSE/DIEU. I look forward to fragment it, decipher it, reshape it, change its medium, give it a form of rebirth as an 'Other’, and perform an autopsy on it in order to push it further; beyond its plastic dimension, which manifests only with an eye towards sculpting colour."

In Hybridations Ornementales, taking place at Moussem Studios in December 2023, El Abyad presents the works developed during her residency at Moussem. Within this collection of henna paintings and sculptures, a cartography of the body unfolds, meticulously charting the itineraries between the palm of the hand and the fingers, the gap between the eyebrows. Inspired by diverse henna practices and rituals associated with tattoos, the artist formulates an ornamental grammar. Navigating the space between figurative and abstract realms, this body of work evokes what lies beyond visibility and intimacy, as seen through the lens of language.

El Abyad’s work has been shown at numerous international exhibitions, including 'الفْرقة, Prägen, Nuage, at Galerie Stihl Waiblingen, Stuttgart, 2023; The Promise Of A Trace, Malhoun Art Space, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Marrakech, 2023; Vantage Point Sharjah 9, Sharjah Art Foundation, Hamriyah Studios, United Arab Emirates, 2021; Déplacer L'horizon, Centre Photographique de Marseille, Manifesta Biennale 2021; À L'épreuve Du Tamis, 18 derb el ferrane 1-54 Art Fair, Marrakech 2020. Her solo exhibitions include حاص ىالىساء ... (Réservé aux femmes?) at ARTORIUM, Casablanca, 2022; and Peau - Écrans, la Maison Juste/Le sous-sol Art Gallery, Paris, 2018. El Abyad has also participated in residencies, such as Résidence de création du dessin et de l'art sur papier, Galerie Stihl Waiblingen Museum, 2023; DAAD, Berlin 2022, Caravane Ouadane, Mauritania, 2021; L'appartement 22, Rabat 2020; Friche La Belle de Mai, Marseille, 2019; New Generation, Le Cube Independent Art Room, Rabat, 2018; 6th Marrakech Biennial, 2016. She holds a diploma from the Institut National des Beaux Arts, (Tétouan 2017) and a Master in Cultural and Artistic Engineering at FLSH Ben M'Sik (Casablanca 2019).

The residency is organized as part of Résidences croisées, an exchange project between Belgium and Morocco, supported by the CCME (Conseil de la Communauté marocaine à l'Étranger).

Click HERE to find Khadija El Abyad on Instagram
Photos: Nisran Azouaghe