Wednesday | August 08, 2018

CREATIVE INDUSTRY : Najoua Ajjour


For the first in a new series of interviews focusing on creatives based in Dubai working outside of the box Dubai Night chat to Moroccan / French artist Najoua Ajjour about her unique techniques and outstanding works of art…
 
For those that are not aware of your particular style of art can you explain your creative process?
I have been an artist for so long and my style is pluralistic. I would have trouble describing my art in one area, but what I can say is that I like the mixture of materials and put all the senses awake. I can have periods in which I will only paint with coffee or sand, contact with the fingers and smells carry me, very ochre and neutral tones, like periods during which I will play with pop colours and phosphorescent that illuminate in the dark. And I collect recyclable materials because in Dubai there is no recycling kiosk for glasses, batteries or paint bombs, so I collect them to create a collection on recycling. But above all my art is often inspired by Morocco where everything is art. I love to work the traditional mosaic, to walk in the alleys of the medinas and to work with natural materials while drinking a good mint tea and smell odours dear to my heart. that's why I love working and representing cultures because mine makes me want to discover the beauty of others. I am an artist and not a creator, I only shape what God has created and share my passion and my loves.


 
Where do you source the materials for your works of art?
My sources of materials are inexhaustible. At each of my travels I am inspired by what I find around me, mainly in Morocco where I buy unique and natural pigment (poppy flower powder, cornflower flower ...) the colours are extraordinary and unique, friends who are Baristas and introduced me to the art of coffee and smells. By working with resins and solvent we can immortalize the colours. Indian fabrics and sands of United Arab Emirates. The sources of inspiration are inexhaustible, we have a project with Lara Tablet in Africa organized by Kiza (DIFC) and I will fill my bags full of surprises.


 
Last season you created an exhibition dedicated to Africa, can you tell us more about that?
Yes, a cultural project with extraordinary artist friends, we named this project "The Puzzle" this was created with Rudolf Ouea, a dancer and choreographer from Cameroon, Stu Todd a Scottish DJ, Yacine Kheddaoui, an Algerian musician and poet and Arfoud Brothers, Moroccan musicians and singers. We worked together, sometimes together at the workshop sometimes in lines, it was an experience and a magical cultural exchange, we had the support of sponsors and exhibited my paintings at Create Hub Gallery in Al Quoz. 
We wanted to highlight the African culture and show the beauty and dynamism of this beautiful continent.Stu Todd create a soundtrack by merging modern and traditional rhythm as no one could have, Yacine Kheddaoui was sending us these pieces that are just enchanting (a magician like in the Arabian Nights), the Arfoud Brothers have brought a touch of joy and during the exhibition we charm the audience with their Berber sounds. and Rudolf, my brother of another mother, spent nights working together, without him the project would never be born. He created dance choreography with Lenge by giving life to the paintings, and explaining their story through dance ending with a flash mob worthy of a US film. Sorry I wanted to be short but "The Puzzle" is not just an exhibition but a cultural project of heart with artists who did not work together but who inspired themselves and give a different image of African art. we have a Facebook page with the photos and video of the event!


 
What are you currently working on?
Currently I work on several projects at the same time but here are the 3 main ones. The first is about the celebrities who came to the United Arab Emirates and that people do not even suspect about recycled or natural materials. People such as Oum Khaltoum who met Sheikh Zayed in December 1971, Justin Trudeau who was the hand of Sheikh when he was only 7 years old, King Mohamed 6th of Morocco. or the big show of Mohamed Ali in 1982 ... and there are surprises.
The second is about francophone and Moroccan artists in pop art tones and glowing in the dark, I have had an extraordinary opportunity to be Moroccan and growing up in France and to have had these 2 cultures, rich in culture and arts.
The 3rd project is of abstract art on the different elements; the water, the earth, the air and the fire. If the day was 48 hours long and not 24 and I had a larger workshop I would probably have 10 projects running at the same time.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for this project?
The first project is the country where I lived for almost 7 years and discovered so many surprises, and a desire to share these discoveries and see the colours as different from one Emirate to another. My two friends Lara Tabet and Elga Kassebaum who have been living here for almost always have also inspired me by their knowledge. Whoever says that the United Arab Emirates is a young country without history has never opened their eyes and a book. Many books are available on the extraordinary history of this country. 
The second project is mainly due to my passion for music, I listen to a lot of music from France and Morocco, and when I listen to Ben L'Uncle Soul and these jazzy melodies or Stromae with these deep texts, Serge Gainsbourg and these powerful lyrics, La Fouine and these raps that are works of art in themselves, Nass Al Ghewan and their fairy tale. I wanted to represent them in the colours that we feel while listening to them.
The last project on the elements came as a result of working on the search for matter and seeing how unpredictable nature can be and then transforming them into a visual miracle.
 


What other artistic projects are you currently working on / or part of?
Many projects, we are talks with St-Regis in Dubai, in contact with the Moroccan Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the Moroccan Ambassador and his wife are passionate about art and their support has been extraordinary. The celebrity projects in the Middle East will be in St-Etienne in France, then Morocco and Miami. With a Norwegian artist, Hilde Gustava we are planning a cultural event in Africa as well, and I am always very interested in new projects.


 
Where can we come check out your works of art at the moment?
Currently I am exhibiting at Kiza at Emirates Financial Tower, DIFC and starting this week I am finishing paintings for the entire building. Soon on my website www.najoua.life and my instagram najoua.art.life (a good a little mix with my life in Dubai may my art is part of my life and my life is my art).


 

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