Moroccan Artist Hamid Kachmar Opens 3rd Solo Show

Misty Brown | 7/19/2012, 9:04 p.m.

"Embodiment" on Display at Parish Gallery

Hamid Kachmar, a Moroccan born artist of Amazigh decent, possesses a penchant for painting and currently enjoys his third solo exhibition on display at the Parish Gallery in Georgetown. The show runs through July 31 and promises to excite those new to the world of art as well as longtime art aficionados.

The artist's most recent exhibition, "Embodiment," consists of 16 paintings - a must see for those in need of an eye-opening experience. In a matter of moments, his work transports one to the desert - a vast and solitary dominion, yet one that possesses its own intrinsic beauty. The 3-dimensional paintings elicit sudden gasps from viewers who long for a first-class trip to distant and unknown lands.

Kachmar presents a kaleidoscopic world chock full of vivid colors in the shades of his sunsets and sunrises, sand dunes and oceanic and sky tones that illuminate solitary figures in various poses. Through his art, he whisks audiences off on a nomadic journey.

Each painting has a textural surface that evokes a well-traveled path - full of twists and turns. In this exhibition he introduces figurative subjects instead of simply majestic landscapes. "It is about the immolation of the self in order to de-attach from a certain mindset installed within us by a force of nature, man-made or organic matter," Kachmar said.

Gallery director Norman Parish weighed in on Kachmar's talent.

"A master of precise, intricate and tightly woven pieces, Hamid deconstructs his ideals of structure by layering the complexities inherent within the mind and body connection. Hamid is a multi-faceted, internationally trained artist of indigenous North African ancestry with over 15 years of professional experience," Parish said.

"Hamid's chosen materials and techniques of incorporating wood carving, weaving, body adornments and poetry are used to evoke metaphors, moods, and expressions from his Berber heritage and subsequent impressions from his studies and travels," he added.

Kachmar received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Meknes University in Morocco in 1995 and his Master of Fine Arts from Howard University in 2006. He lectured at the university on experimental studio and mixed media for five years. For the past 20 years, his works have been featured in exhibitions in the United States and abroad.

Recently, I met with Kachmar to discuss his commitment to be a cultural agent for Morocco's original culture.

MB: Are you a storyteller of your Berber heritage?

HK: Yes and a "cultural agent."

MB: What's a cultural agent and how does that impact your work?

HK: A cultural agent is a cultural activist or cultural ambassador [think Wynton Marsalis] who seeks to bring his culture outside its cradle without "decontextualizing" it. In the past, many were surprised to see that I redefined the traditional artistic structures of my Berber heritage. Indeed, my work is inspired by my native Berber culture; yet, it traverses various philosophies and cultural territories, like my homeland. Using the mediums of weaving, woodcarving, and body adornment as multi-media layers, I strive to employ universal metaphoric content to my work.

MB: Are there still conflicts about promoting the original culture of Morocco?

HK: Implicitly yes; there is still a strong resistance to the idea of a "Plural Morocco" from an "elite" who took advantage of a pre-colonial era to educate their descendants in prestigious French schools and who had a conception of "Jacobian Morocco" with one language, one culture and one religion.

The Parish Gallery is located at 1054 31st Street in Northwest. The show runs through July 31. Call 202-944-2410 or visit www.parishgallery.com for more information.