by Jerry ElengicalJun 04, 2021
In the recent past, to make their presence felt in the world of art, the artists carry an implicated insistence to produce conceptually intense work, and in due course of the journey tend to let go of their unique voice. Subsequently, one is left to see the replica instead of artwork. Against such a backdrop, the celebratory bright hues of the digitally produced artwork by the Spain-based artist, Houda Bakkali, carry a breath of fresh air. The pop art of Bakkali is a careful amalgamation of digital illustration, motion graphics, and augmented reality to underline the fact that humans drive the world of digital media, even if the latter has overshadowed the sphere of the former. Having shown her works in Paris, Madrid, Cannes, New York, Barcelona, Lorca, Córdoba, Biarritz, Bakkali has been facilitated with awards including American Illustration, Graphis Awards, London International Creative, Paris Design Award, Creative Quarterly, New Talent Award at the International Festival Artist of the World in Cannes, to name a few.
The immersive experience of Bakkali’s works is aimed to successfully illustrate the beauty of the feminine spaces as well as the strength and swiftness to run a life full of harmony and joy. Having a family that has roots in the enriching culture of Africa, and present-day home in Spain, invariably, nurture her thoughts and aspiration. To concur with this, Bakkuli, in an interview with STIR, says, “Absolutely, I feel very fortunate to be able to participate in two such rich cultures, on many occasions very close. It is a great luxury to have grown up surrounded by such varied and enriching cultural diversity”.
The series Beautiful African Woman is dedicated to Bakkali’s mother Abida, an Arab, African and Muslim woman, who fought for emancipation and egalitarianism with a tremendous sense of élan. A rebel in her own right, Bakkali with this series visually translates her life onto the tangible works to give a sneak peek into the life of a woman who has been imbibed the beauty of a cosmopolitan woman: thriving to build a life on her terms.
Bakkali puts the series of artistic techniques to create works that according to her are a means to trigger the art of “peaceful protest”. Bakkali succinctly walks us through the phrase "peaceful protest", and how does she intend to capture it, “Art is one of the greatest tools of expression and protest that we have. In my artworks, I seek to express that protest through harmony, balance, colour and fantasy. Inspired by the values that my parents left me, in my own personal history, in my faith in the human being and in love, dialogue and empathy as the best weapons to change the world”.
The experiments and discoveries that she makes are a way to add an element of wonder for the audience to let them experience the avenue of many possibilities available if creatively used by the artist. For instance, the work such as African, sweet and Pop along with the digital creation combines archival works to emphasise the unbroken tradition between the past and present. Furthermore, Bakkali likes to present her works, not as a stagnant piece of art, but she adds motion to it as a way to allow it to have a life to it. Since she works across a series of mediums, a curious mind would like to know if these mediums influence or intersect with each other, “Fundamentally, working with different media influences the public's vision. The work comes to life, tell a story that goes beyond the limits of the canvas. Even grow, change and allow the audience to immerse themselves in the work. It is wonderful, fun, and always amazing. Working on the same piece with different techniques, including animation and artificial reality enriches the global conception of creation, gives it an infinite dimension”.
To add, she is acutely aware of her urban settings which are evidently reflected in her spectrum of works. The non-derivative approach of her works takes the viewers onto this visceral journey where they watch, absorb, and gauge not just a splash of colours, but also treads this path punctuated by an unsaid tension between the constant binaries. Yet, her works hold the promise of harmony, difficult to achieve, surely not unfeasible. Bakkali discloses that she is keen to have viewers who, “enjoy and discover new stories through my work that make them happy, make them smile and have fun. Bring them closer to my creative world and the themes that inspire me through scenarios that convey optimism and hope. Art is also an exceptionally powerful therapy”. It is this interconnectedness of her works, pinned with a streak of hope that seemingly finds a home in the heart of the viewers.