Warsaw

Ahmed Cherkaoui, Autoportrait en larmes (Self-Portrait in Tears), 1961, oil on jute on canvas, 25 5⁄8 × 17 3⁄4".

Ahmed Cherkaoui, Autoportrait en larmes (Self-Portrait in Tears), 1961, oil on jute on canvas, 25 5⁄8 × 17 3⁄4".

“Ahmed Cherkaoui in Warsaw: Polish-Moroccan Artistic Relations (1955–1980)”

Zachęta National Gallery of Art

There is something intrinsically ambivalent about Western art history “discovering” forgotten or marginalized artists. But what happens when this kind of “discovery” is made in a country, such as Poland, that is itself considered peripheral? “Ahmed Cherkaoui in Warsaw: Polish-Moroccan Artistic Relations (1955–1980)” nominally focuses on the eponymous pioneer of abstract art in Morocco, and reflects more widely on the relationship between the margins. Not long after Morocco gained its independence in 1956, Cherkaoui relocated to Paris, where he studied at the École des Métiers d’Art before traveling to Poland in 1960 on a yearlong residency that lasted into 1961.

In Warsaw, Cherkaoui studied in the graphic arts department of the Academy of Fine Arts under Henryk Tomaszewski, a founding father of the Polish Poster School—whose style blended Surrealism, Pop art, and socialist realism—and met

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