“What is art?” asked Honoré de Balzac rhetorically. “Nature concentrated” he answered, succinctly forming one of the most satisfying definitions of the most mysterious of all human creations. For Manal Kerzazi, a young Moroccan artist and student of interior design, nature to her is like the sun to plants, an endless source of green energy.
Nature took possession of her soul when she was only 5 years of age in a forest pick nick. She remembers it as the day nature decided to speak to her, admitted her into its realm, and taught her a language that she now masters. That day, she wandered about mindlessly, drawn by small, random twigs that she collected and insisted on taking home. When they got back home, the forest miniature she created using these twigs were, to her parents, obvious signs of an enormous talent. This was soon confirmed when she turned the different objects that they bought her into artworks, marking the beginning of a childhood that orbited around art and creation.
Born in 2000 in the city of Oujda, east of Morocco, Manal grew up in a family that recognized her giftedness and nurtured her recognition and support until her flair took its current form. She has produced staggering pieces of different art forms: abstract paintings, body paintings, murals, mock up models and miniatures, pieces of furniture and decoration. They, like nature, strike you as untamed yet astonishingly precise, employing color mixtures that speak to a primal intuition.
With the help of her parents, Manal has been able to expose and sell her work. She managed to set up 3 art exhibitions that blew the attendees away. She sold numerous paintings and received orders of mockup models.
Manal recounts that in an exhibition she lately held in her native city, one of the attendees was her first ever art teacher whose contact she had been trying to regain for years as he strongly influenced her as a child. Manal recognized him instantly as he walked towards her to introduce himself and talk about her work, but he did not recognize her because she had completely changed as she grew up. And before she revealed to him that she was the pupil he had promised a good future in art, she asked him about his impression of her artworks. He replied that he was deeply affected by it. This to her has been a huge encouragement to continue showing her art to the world.
Manal aspires to become a globally renown artist. But for her, artistic production is not only a career opportunity. It is a primal urge and the loudest way she expresses the universe of ideas and feelings that orbits inside her. I asked Manal what would be the single most important conviction she wants to convey through her art, she said “This: whether we see it or not, there is beauty in everything around. We can teach ourselves to see beauty even in ugliness.”
Ezzoubeir Jabrane is a writer, teacher and entrepreneur. He holds a Master’s Degree in Linguistic and Literary Studies. He has written a number of journalistic, analytical and academic articles in different fields. He’s worked as a teacher of Academic English at Hassan II University in Casablanca and a teacher of English for Engineering in the National Higher School of Arts and Craft (ENSAM), in addition to a number of other private institutions. Ezzoubeir is a founding member of International Morocco and the founder of Exchange Lab, a language center that offers online English courses for individuals, companies and associations.