Anbar El Mokri X marocMaroc, the collab that is jazzing up our packaging
At 25, Anbar El Mokri embodies, with poetry and determination, the new wave of artists who are stepping onto the Moroccan neo-artisanal and artistic scene. Increasingly in demand for her vases which flaunt abstract shapes and cheerful colors, the young painter has now created unprecedented temporary packaging for the Hope box with marocMaroc. The perfect opportunity to discover the person hiding behind this passionately creative temperament.
Where are you from Anbar?
I was born in Ottawa and grew up between Rabat and Casablanca. I came back from Canada two and a half years ago and since then I have been living between Casablanca and Marrakesh.
Tell me about your childhood.
From a very young age, I was immersed in a creative and harmonious environment. My dad has always played several musical instruments (guitar, piano, bass), and my mum (Ghizlaine Chraïbi, editor’s note), who is a psychotherapist, has written several novels and also paints – she will actually be exhibiting her work in Casablanca next March. So, you could say that artistic expression has always been part of my everyday life.
What did you study?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in political science, specializing in the Middle East, from the Concordia University in Montreal. I then worked in event planning and communication, in particular social media, experiences which taught me a lot.
Because it allows me to tell stories, some personal, some not so personal, through color but also composition. I really love colors. For a long time, I worked with warm colors, probably because of the incredible light we are blessed with every day in Morocco.
I have always had a penchant for abstract art, which gives me freedom when it comes to technique, which is extremely cathartic. A way of expressing certain emotions, painting is more about dexterity rather than precision, a powerful way of symbolizing what is real. Recently, however, I have immersed myself in reproducing the landscapes that surround me, resulting in figurative and detailed creations. I am exploring this approach with a lot of enthusiasm.
Nature! The branches of a tree, flowers, the sunsets… I like living things because they belong to all of us, things we all share. I believe profoundly in the power of shared experiences.
What led you to work with ceramics?
I started to paint on ceramic last year after a stay in Marrakesh during which I realized that artisans had completely stopped working since the start of the coronavirus crisis. I impulsively bought a lot of vases and other models, telling myself that I would find something to do with them. I discovered a real passion for painting on ceramic, which opened up other dimensions than painting on canvas. Since then, painting on objects has become an integral part of my activity and I intend to pursue this path.
What does it mean to be a young female artist in Morocco in 2021?
Creating your own pathway, giving yourself the means to follow it and make a living from it.
What is most rewarding on a daily basis?
Trying out new formats and meeting other people from the same field.
If you hadn’t been a painter, what would you have done?
I would have continued as an event planner; even though I am convinced that one day, I would have become a painter.
How did this collaboration with marocMaroc start?
The brand contacted me to work with them on developing an original and temporary packaging and I immediately loved the idea. Our values are shared because the marocMaroc universe has the ability to wow, which is something very important to me and which I am trying to pass on in my own way through my painting.
A heart, a leaf, a glimpse of the sun, this capsule packaging is an ode to nature, to pastel tones. What are the reasons behind these choices?
Because they are symbols of wellness, hope, and reconciliation with nature. Through its DNA, marocMaroc invites you to look after yourself; an approach which seems essential to me in our busy everyday life. We often tend to move forward like robots, without taking the time to look inwards. It is vital to know how to take a break, to learn to think of yourself.
I hope to further develop the “Studio” dimension of my activity, with more objects and new collaborations. As for painting, 2021 will be the year I dig deeper and learn more.
And where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still with a paintbrush in my hand!
Interviewed by Éléonore A. Bénit, journalist and influencer