Multi-talented Moroccan artist paints China through foreign eyes
Published: Jun 04, 2012 08:05 PM Updated: Jun 04, 2012 11:41 PM

Artists often lead rich and diverse lives, but few could boast a life quite like Moroccan artist Nouria El Alami, who just wrapped up an exhibition at the Beijing Imperial City Art Museum. 

One could be forgiven for thinking that as the wife of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, Alami would lead the relaxed life of a dilettante, but this is far from the truth. Aside from being a renowned artist and the wife of a dignitary, she is a doctor of biology and clinical chemistry.

"My mother expected that I would become a doctor, but I always wanted to be a painter," said the artist, during last Friday's opening ceremony. The exhibition ran from June 1 to 3.

This was her second solo exhibition in Asia; her first was in Seoul in 2004.

Her latest exhibition featured works painted during her three-year-stay in China. She showcased Moroccan culture as well as oriental, and made extensive use of both water inks as well as oil paintings.

"You can find a strong influence from Chinese paintings, but meanwhile, you're also impressed by this exotic painter's narrative style. She really loves painting and puts her heart into it," commented art critic Wang Peng, from the Renmin University of China.

Chinese opera through a foreign brush. Photo: Xu Liuliu/GT
Chinese opera through a foreign brush. Photo: Xu Liuliu/GT

In The Sweetness Of The Dragon, viewers can see an elegant dragon wandering among rose leaves, the image providing a stark contrast to the fearsome dragons typically portrayed in Western culture. This imagery is very similar to the kind of dragons often seen in Chinese culture.

These images offer glimpses of Chinese culture as seen through this foreign painter's eyes. She also showcased different aspects of Morocco through certain paintings, including Andalus Music which portrayed a band in traditional Moroccan costumes performing with local instruments, and Nostalgia of Casabalanca, which portrayed images of the famed Moroccan city.