The Yearning for the Other Shore
“The yearning for the other shore, is a translation of my thoughts of returning to my country, going back to my roots. It also symbolizes a return to the light, so very unique to Africa.”
Whether painted on canvas or on paper, the many crossings are represented by means of recurring symbols such as canoes, bundles of sticks or ladders reaching for the sky. Among tones of grey and blue, red and orange and ochre, a boat sails the width of the canvas in an animated backdrop of letters, messages and signs. The ladders rise while courses are plotted, sometimes bound for the North, sometimes for the South or sometimes simply heading towards the horizon. These bare ladders, ubiquitous on Mimouni’s canvases, exist to go back in time, to climb onto the train of dreams ; they are a nexus with another place, banishing frontiers and barbed-wire fences. They are suspended between the earth and the sky.
“The idea is one of elevation, of searching elsewhere, of climbing to infinity.”
Timeless landscapes open to the imagination, peppered with words and symbols on the frontier between drawing and speech: places where no human figure intervenes, but where the features of humanity are delicately outlined in every detail.
About Mimouni El Houssaine
Born in 1957, El Houssaine Mimouni grew up in the southern Moroccan town of Taroudant, where he completed a secondary school diploma in the Humanities. His first visit to Paris in 1981 came as shock as he was surprised to see the abundance of museums and cultural offerings in the capital. This experience led him to set out on a voyage across England, Belgium and the Netherlands to discover museums and galleries. Another trip to Italy in 1984 solidified his passion for painting and archeology.
Mimouni entered the Fine Arts School of Tours in 1982, where he studied drawing, painting and engraving and earned a DNSEP (National Diploma in Visual Expression) in 1987 with high honors from the jury. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from the Université Paris VIII (1990).
Since 1986, Mimouni has participated in a variety of individual and collective exhibitions at prestigious institutions across the world (World Bank, Washington ; Dakar Biennale, Senegal; Majlis Gallery, Dubai; Written Art Foundation, Frankfort and Marrakech; Casablanca Biennale; V Contemporary Art Gallery, Paris, etc.) and has completed numerous artistic residencies in Morocco (Al Maqam (Tahennaoute), Ifitry (Essaouira), International Festival of Assilah), where he continues to draw his creative inspiration.
In addition to painting and engraving, Mimouni has illustrated several literary texts, including “L’entrelangue / Entrelanguas” by Juan Gelman and Jacques Ancet and “Les Saisons d’Aden” by ’Amina Saïd.
He currently lives in Montpellier, France, where he teaches painting.