Self-taught artist Anuar Khalifi was born in 1977 in Lloret de Mar, Spain. Currently based between Barcelona and Tangier, Khalifi creates richly detailed and vibrant paintings that reward the keen eye with their captivating layers of meaning. Within these layers, the artist explores a wide range of themes such as identity, duality, diaspora, orientalism, colonialism, extremism, and consumerist society.
Khalifi's paintings demonstrate his understanding of both the stylistic elements and the socio-political spirit of neo-impressionism. Mixing fact and fiction to confront stereotypes, his works are at times ironic and humorous, evoking a childlike naivety as the artist dismantles the canon of orientalism.
Khalifi spent a great deal of time as a child drawing, a pastime that informs his practice today, particularly in his color palette and arrangement of characters. Typically, autobiographical in nature, the figures include adolescents, young adults, and occasionally an older male and are often depicted in an absurd setting or mischievous act. The bold use of color reinforces the youthful, playful tone, however, Khalifi subverts popular culture to leave subtly sophisticated reminders that his work is layered with topical social discourse. Focusing on the journey of the individual, Khalifi inventively maps out the surroundings that his characters inhabit, settings that encourage discussions around spirituality and mortality. The artist deliberately leaves space within the narratives engaging the viewer and creating a private intimacy that allows for freedom, authenticity, and ecstasy to reign unimpeded.
Khalifi highlights the persistent misrepresentation observed by those straddling more than one culture or place. Omnipresent within the state, media, and religion, Khalifi exposes how this warping of Eastern and Western iconography disrupts the human comprehension of reality. Challenging notions of identity, society, and justice, Khalifi's work considers the outcomes of a state in which spirituality disappears only to be replaced by mediocrity and the denial of the self. With skepticism dominating modern thought, dismissing all that cannot be measured, Khalifi considers the modern role of tradition, language, and understanding. His unique blend of fictional characters posed against brand imagery creates an experience of a world that spans across realities, bridging visuals of the past with that of a globalized contemporary culture.
His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions such as;Perpetual Inventory, Volume 1: An Exercise in Looking, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2022); The Third Line at Cromwell Place, Cromwell Place, London, UK (2021); Personal Mythologies, Galerie Julien Cadet, Paris, France (2020); Forever Is A Current Event, The Third Line, Dubai (2019); Dust, Roses & cockroaches, Galerie Shart, Casablanca, Morocco (2018); El niño que le dolía el cuello de tanto mirar el cielo, Plom gallery, Barcelona, Spain (2016); DESORIENTE- BCN, The Mothership, Barcelona, Spain (2015); Les nouvelles créations artistiques, Bank Al-Maghrib, Rabat, Morocco (2015); DESORIENTE, Yakin and Boaz Gallery, Casablanca, Morocco (2014); A New Hope, Galeria Mitte Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (2012); Tourists go home, Galerie Kandisha, Paris, France (2012); Now, Biennale, Marrakech, Morocco (2012); Blast, Mastermind (GVCC), Casablanca, Morocco (2012); Boys don't cry, Artingis, Tangier, Morocco (2011); Fast Food, Les Insolites, Tangier, Morocco (2011).
- Palimpsest, 2021
- Maqam "Negus", 2021
- MAWQIF, 2020
- Personal Mythologies, 2020
- The Negus Asked Me: 'Do you want to be the Sultan or Rumi?' And then opened a pomegranate (1), 2019
- A Study of a Hunting, 2019
- We Listen to Abdul-Bassit When We Open, 2019
- Istiqama, 2019
- F.C.E., 2019
- Dust Makers, 2018
- Desert Castle, 2018
Perpetual Inventory, Volume 1: An Exercise in LookingCurated by Dr. Omar Kholeif 19 Dec 2022 - 29 Jan 2023Perpetual Inventory and Dr. O’s Pop Shop at The Third Line, Dubai this December. The Third Line presents Perpetual Inventory, Volume 1 and Dr. O’s Pop Shop: The Live Edition,...Read more
The Third Line at Cromwell PlaceGallery 5, Cromwell Place, London 2 - 10 Jun 2021The Third Line is pleased to announce a group exhibition of works by Anuar Khalif__b/b__, Sara Naim and Sophia Al Maria at Cromwell Place in London. Featuring painting, sculptural photography...Read more
NEGUSyasiin bey 25 Mar - 5 May 2021The Third Line and Sole bring yasiin bey's audio and visual installation, Negus, to the Middle East for the first time. Negus is a 28-minute listening experience consisting of 8...Read more
FOREVER IS A CURRENT EVENTAnuar Khalifi 27 Nov 2019 - 4 Mar 2020The Third Line is pleased to present Anuar Khalifi’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, with works on canvas exploring the exchange between tradition and the contemporary world. Embodying both...Read more
Perpetual Inventory And Dr. O’s Pop ShopSelections Magazine, December 31, 2022
How portraits of Moroccan painter Anuar Khalifi are seizing the momentRebecca Anne Proctor, Arab News, August 9, 2021
How Spanish-Moroccan artist Anuar Khalifi is breathing new life into portraitureMelissa Gronlund, The National, July 17, 2021
No Labels AllowedKatherine Volk, Canvas Magazine, May 1, 2021
5 Quick Questions With Moroccan Artist Anuar KhalifiMille Team, Mille World, January 15, 2020