Anwar Khalifa, a Moroccan artist based between Spain and Morocco, is one person spurring a rebirth in contemporary portraiture.
His works, drenched in the rich colors — burnt oranges, deep crimsons, and dark browns — that characterize his homeland, reveal a slew of characters, often depicted casually at home, and dressed in traditional garments such as a red fez or a relaxed jalabiya robe.
In his most recent show “Palimpsests,” an online exhibition staged by Dubai-based gallery The Third Line, the artist revealed his latest paintings, all capturing the lush and dreamy landscape, colors, and traditions of his Moroccan heritage.
Born in 1977 in Lloret de Mar, a small town on the Costa Brava in Spain near to Barcelona, Khalife would travel regularly to Morocco as a child, where both his parents are from, a habit he continues to this day, moving between both countries on a monthly basis.
For years the self-taught artist, who grew up drawing in his mother’s kitchen, has created work that depicts an identity in flux — his constant exploration of his Moroccan origins and Spanish upbringing.
His paintings, while delicately mixing these two cultures, have gravitated to a more pronounced rendering of his oriental and Arab heritage.