I am a self taught painter born in 1982 and raised in Tunisia before settling in France in 2004. My name is Maher Maaoui and I'm signing my artworks MaMa.
I started to paint in my early childhood, after my father, a wooden toys maker, offered me a book called "L'Art de Voir" (The Art of Seeing). Since then, I intensely dissected my parents' painting collection, mostly composed of Tunisian artists of the 20th century.
Through the years traveling and living abroad, spending countless hours in the museums of modern and contemporary art, my desire to create became a vital need enhanced by life cycle events. My work is driven by my involvement in a path for freedom and in the making of an apology of contrast, after 23 years growing up in a dictatorship marked with censorship, however totally immersed in a Mediterranean chromatic spectrum.
My work revolves around two inseparable approaches which converge and function like communicating vessels. "Decryption" series is an approach focussed in the abstraction over the figurative work like an archeology of human beings through the decortication of photographs and videos confronted to my souvenirs and introspective journey. On the other hand, the "Suddenly" series is a live representation of strong emotions, where the figure springs in the urgency of the expression, in an accidental way, linking the work to my childhood.
All of my work is autobiographical, stemming from daily observations, lived experiences and intense and brutal emotions. This creative process raises philosophical and sociological questions, always in search of universality, introducing a dreamlike and spiritual dimension echoing the mysteries of life and death.
I am therefore exploring human vibrations and emotions through a research focused on both abstraction in portraiture and a new form of representation. I am using video, photography, and more specifically the pixelation of digital images to explore human figures. In my work, which is mostly in oil and acrylics, I recently introduced the wood in reference to my childhood and as an homage to my father.
Since 2015, my work has been selected in international fairs and collective exhibitions in Paris, Tunis, Sao Paulo, Venice and Tokyo and it entered numerous private collections. In 2016, I participated in a Master Class of painting with the Austrian painter Lois Renner. In 2021, one of my portraits joined the permanent collection of Fondation de la Maison de Tunisie in Paris.
Salon Comparaisons 2023
First Solo Show
I believe that resistance and indignation all together with spiritual path and dreams and taste of aesthetics and beauty can be converted into an absolute creative equivalent energy, in a same artwork, where ideas, emotions and sensations, whether mild or violent can coexist and leave room for the mystery that emanates from all the contrasts they create without locking the viewer into an ideology or a marketing concept.
If I am moved by geopolitical issues, violence towards minorities, injustice or environmental concerns, the intensity of my feelings will naturally be transcribed while painting a sunset or a look at a face that pierces my heart on the street, as well as when I marvel at a fresh and juicy fig or in front of any other amazing creature from nature.
Latest shows :
June 2023 – Ateliers Portes Ouvertes, Paris 15 City Hall, Centre Culturel Foranim
May 2023 - 6 Regards, Cité de la Culture, Tunis
22th of Sept. to 22th of Oct. 2022 – Artcité fair reuniting 104 artists in Fontenay-sous-Bois, Maison du citoyen et de la Vie Associative www.art-cite.fr
June 2022 – Ateliers Portes Ouvertes, Paris 15 City Hall, Centre Culturel Foranim
February 2022 – Salon Comparaisons-Art Capital Metaphore Group with painter Moreno Pincas, Grand Palais Ephémère, Paris
June 2021 – Ateliers Portes Ouvertes, Paris 15 City Hall, Centre Culturel Foranim
October 2020 – Inside/Outside, collective show, La La Lande Gallery, Paris
November 2019 – ST-Art Strasbourg, La La Lande Gallery
Gazette Drouot : selected work « Sunset in Skiathos », acrylique, 100x100cm for the illustration of the event
May 2019 - Homogeneus (13 artists), Institut Français de Tunisie, Tunis / La La Lande Gallery, Paris #Kapitalis #ideomagazine #tunisie.co
June 2018 - 1480Km (12 artists), La La Lande Gallery, Paris
June 2018 - Solo show, retrospective, Centre Culturel Foranim, Paris
Previous exhibitions :
UH5, Nuits des Arts (5 artists), Roubaix
Art Capital, Salon des Artistes Français, Grand Palais, Paris
Art Actuel France / Japon, National Art Center, Tokyo
First Solo Show, Retrospective, Centre Culturel Foranim, Paris
Salon d’Automne de Paris, Champs Elysées, Paris
Art Capital, Salon du Dessin et Peinture à l’Eau, Grand Palais, Paris
Salao de Outono da America Latina, Galeria Marta Traba Do Memorial Da America Latina, Sao Paulo, Brésil
Biennale d’art contemporain SAI-Sarria, Abadia de Samos, Spain
Amis du Salon d’Automne de Paris, Galerie Béatrice Bellat, Montmartre, Paris
Salon International de Vittel - Art’East, Palais des Congrès de Vittel
Salon de Versailles, Carré à la Farine, Versailles
Awards and publications :
2021 - First artwork to join the permanent collection of an institution, Portrait of Jellal Ben Abdallah to be permanently exhibited at La Fondation de la Maison de Tunisie, Pavillon H. Bourguiba
2016 - Selection for the Master Class of Painting at Palazzo Zenobio, with Austrian painter Lois Renner in Venice and appeared in the catalog « 100 artists of tomorrow series 2016 »
2015 - Painting medal at the 15Oth Salon de Versailles, France