Farid Belkahia is a Moroccan painter, born November 15, 1934 in Marrakech. He is considered one of the precursors of contemporary art in Morocco.
After secondary school in El Jadida and Marrakech, Farid Belkahia, who has been painting since the age of fifteen, taught as a teacher in Ouarzazate. After a first exhibition in Marrakech in 1953, he attended the Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1954 to 1959. He became interested in the works of Rouault and Klee. From 1959 to 1962, a scholarship allowed him to complete his training and study the creation of theater sets in Czechoslovakia. In Prague he met Henri Alleg. Back in Morocco in 1962 Farid Belkahia was appointed director of the School of Fine Arts in Casablanca, a position he held until 1974. At that time he began to work with copper. In 1966 he participated in the magazine Souffles and in 1969 he organized a large exhibition in the Jamaâ El Fna square in Marrakech and in Casablanca. After 1974 he devoted himself entirely to his art, using copper, skin, cut wood, natural dyes for his works, recreating, in particular from Berber signs, universal graphic symbols. “The henna, the skin, these are my memories, my grandmother, the environment in which I grew up, the smells I know. “, he confides.
Belkahia imposed the idea of a painting independent of the colonial heritage, and established contemporary values that will influence generations of artists in Morocco and give it an international presence. Jilali Gharbaoui (1930-1971) and Ahmed Cherkaoui (1934-1967) are two other Moroccan non-figurative painters contemporary to Farid Belkahia. The artist participated in the exhibition “sharing exoticism” and his work is collected by international museums, including the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, as well as the ONA Foundation and the Société Générale.