Mohammed Bennani is a Moroccan artist whose painting is characterized by use of tactile materials such as bronze, stone marble and wood. He also practices sculpture and interior design.
“I always wake up with a painting in my mind that I had seen in my dreams,” the artist says. “My art workshop is just like my temple. It is part of my life, my childhood; it has photos dear to my heart, taken with my father and mother.”
Born in 1943 in Tetouan, Bennani began studies at the city’s school of fine arts in 1958. Two years later, he was admitted into the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Paris, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, specializing in painting and sculpture.
Benanni went on to train at the regional educational center from 1978 to 1981, and then taught at the school of applied arts in the Moroccan capital, Rabat. In 1989, he received a grant from the French government, he settled at the Cité Internationale des Arts à Paris.
He says relationship with his work parallels the way his father used to play the piano: “I saw how he used to kiss the piano once he was done with playing. I follow suit. I kiss my artworks.”
Bennani’s work has been showcased in public and private collections around the world, in countries such as France, Spain, Iraq, U.S., Germany, Italy, Tunisia, and his birthplace, Morocco.
While the artist lives and works in Kentira, Morocco, he also regularly works at an installation workshop at the School of Fine Arts in Paris.
Bennani says his relationship with art is so strong that it took a toll on his marriage, which ended in divorce.
“My wife has nothing to do with it. It is because of art,” he says. “I do everything while I am painting. I play and settle scores with the different shapes of the artwork; I maneuver them as if I am telling the canvas my story.”
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