Through my paintings, photographic collages, textile works, and installations, I explore notions such as femininity and gender, social power structures and hierarchies, collective rituals and group psychology. A fundamental premise of my work is my research into roles and (media) representations of women in society. With a slight sense of irony, my paintings consciously incorporate common clichés and often draw on the visual language of graphic novels, as I use sharp black lines, geometric patterns, and primary colors. A transcultural, comparative perspective is at the core of my artistic methodology; through visual juxtapositions and techniques of collage, I emphasize similarities rather than differences between cultural contexts. Popular culture and folk tales have a clear impact on my work, as have my own life experiences, which I re-sample in accordance to their universal recognizability, and connect to larger issues. During the last decennium, my interest in Europe’s fascist past has led me to take up the “circus” as a fitting metaphor, in order to draw parallels with the political present. Populism and the dehumanization of the other, the aestheticization of power and seduction in its various guises are important processes I critically reflect on in my practice.
Wafae Ahalouch El Keriasti (Tanger, Morocco, 1978) lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She graduated from HKU University of the Arts Utrecht in 2001, followed by residencies at De Ateliers and later Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam (among others). She has received national and international recognition in the form of various fellowships, stipends, and awards, including, in 2003, the Koninklijke Prijs voor Vrije Schilderkunst (the Dutch Royal Prize for Modern Painting). Over the course of her career, her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions at venues inside and outside the Netherlands, such as Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; Wiels, Brussels; EKWC, Den Bosch; De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam; Club Solo, Breda; Billboard Festival, Istanbul and Casablanca; Museum Arnhem; Framer Framed, Amsterdam; Marrakech Biennale 5; FIAC, Paris; Stedelijk Museum Zwolle; Musée de Marrakech; Schloss Marquardt, Potsdam; Young Artists Biennale, Bucharest; W139, Amsterdam; and Centraal Museum, Utrecht. Her work is held in public and private collections in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.