German artist Hendrick Beikirch pays tribute to these Moroccans craftsmen whose trades and knowledge will soon be lost. The project TRACING MOROCCO, in collaboration with the Montresso foundation, honours and immortalizes Moroccan faces in portraits and onto gigantic walls in all major cities worldwide.
Hendrik Beikirch was artist in residence at the Jardin Rouge near Marrakesh a dozen times since June 2014 and realized 22 portraits that will be shown at the show Tracing Morocco in December 2015. Afterwards, during his 2015 world tour, Hendrik Beikirch reproduced his portraits on gigantic walls in all major cities worldwide and is still going to reproduce them throughout 2016. Some walls are already displayed to passers-by, fans of the artist, to all of those who, bewildered, discover them randomly in New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Oslo, Murmansk, Toulouse, Naestved… Next step Marrakesh, Paris and Moscow.
The idea came from the natural observation of the men and women who keep those gestures alive in the souks in the mountain villages or in the secluded corners of the Moroccan countryside. Those are unforgettable “faces” often photographed but never praised. Old men and women who have not been spared by the passage of time or by the fatigue of a whole lifetime. These are workers, craftsmen, fishermen, they possess knowledge and they pursue crafts and trades that are destined to disappear. It is neither written nor explained, but it is obvious: these men and women are the custodians of some of humanity’s treasures.
This is what makes these portraits so unique: they are the centre of attention in a society in which they are normally invisible. In changing the dimensions and the status from the classic portrait in a conventional format to an urban mural, these faces do not lose their realistic character – on the contrary, it comes across all the more strongly. Urban paintings by Beikirch are the culmination of a project that has involved many people. All of these have had to listen, realize the message, support it, so as to finally accept that the work can be accomplished. It is also a work that is the union of every opposite: the subject is simple, the painting complex. The message is clear, the scale is spectacular. The universal and the individual live side by side until they merge together.
The process and the idea became self-logical: to photograph the context, pause on the occupation and let Hendrick Beikirch immortalize the man like a tribute to mankind. There remain thousands of shepherds, truck drivers driving overloaded lorries, butchers, zelligers or simple masons used to ancestral and rudimentary equipment. Those who know Morocco have come across and noticed those unbelievable truths.
German artist Hendrik Beikirch aka ECB got himself noticed due to his gigantic mural portraits of random anonymous individuals he met during his many travels. Beikirch meticulously paints each wrinkle of his models’ face, in an effort to share their story. His portraits are true life stories. The artist aims at revealing the beauty of those men and women bearing the traces of time, in our society made of bland images. His limited colour range and the contrasts he shapes underline the vulnerability of his subjects, inducing a simple relation based on emotion between the viewer and the subject. Whether they appear on the corner of a street, the front of a building or on a canvas indoor, the sincerity displayed by ECB’s paintbrush turns these anonymous persons into silent companions.
TRACING MOROCCO is first of all the encounter between a man, a country and its people. The book highlights the beauty of encounters and human passions. In order to honour them, Hendrick Beikirch portrayed those Moroccans, emphasizing their fascinating emotions. During his Moroccan escapades he created unadorned portraits, without any inappropriate effusions or overflowing empathy. The book Tracing Morocco, published by the art foundation Montresso*, will be presented in December 2015, at the occasion of the end of Hendrik Beikirch’s residency at the Jardin Rouge.