By Nii B. Andrews

Mahi Binebine has in a long and colorful artistic career always asked tough questions and often provided courageous answers.

He is one of the most brilliant prose writers in French. He has ten novels to his credit and they have been translated into several languages.

His prose is often piercing and unsentimental.

In the novel “Cannibales” aka “Welcome to Paradise”, Binebine describes the medina of his hometown, Marrakech as being, “enveloped in the aromas of grilled meat and spices that were overpowering, as if everyone was carrying a meal in the hood of their djellaba”.

Binebine is also an accomplished painter and sculptor.

His work has been exhibited throughout the world and is in the permanent collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Binebine, a former Maths teacher, addresses contemporary existential problems in his artwork; the search for identity, exile, stark economic disparity and religious extremism.

His art is very much about people.

The paintings often depict bodies that appear to merge into one another, or tell the story of an encounter.

The sculptured pieces feature graphic facial distortions and body encroachments from external objects – iron bars, walls, containers and ropes.

Binebine’s engagement with important social issues has been consistent and strong.

He has been particularly vocal about the need to engage constructively with Africa’s youth.

Since the publication of his novel, “Horses of God” (2013) which was based on a true story, Binebine has been working passionately and successfully with disadvantaged youngsters.

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