“When you have a portrait in your house, it’s static and doesn’t change,” says Moroccan-born artist, Ghizlan El Glaoui. “My portraits change throughout the day, changing with you. The painting becomes a light in your house – bright during the day and abstract at night. It is a piece of artwork but also an installation that changes with the time of the day or the mood of whoever is in the room.”
The granddaughter of ‘Lord of the Atlas’, Thani el Mezouari El Glaoui, the last Pasha of Marrakech, and daughter of renowned Moroccan artist Hassen El Glaoui, Ghizlan’s passion for art began as a child, where she spent many happy hours in her father’s art studio. Here, encouraged by her mother, a former leading Givenchy model, Ghizlan posed for portraits, becoming her father’s muse and igniting her own fascination with faces. She then went on to study Arts at the Academie Charpentier.
The inspirational surroundings from Ghizlan’s childhood, combined with the rich colours of her father’s work have influenced her distinctive painting style, which marries ancient art techniques with modern LED lighting technology.
Drawing on her rich Berber heritage, Ghizlan explores mosaics through clever paint techniques on canvas, which she illuminates from behind to give them a new dimension and a fresh perspective. “Mosaics are part of my family’s legacy,” says artist, Ghizlan El Glaoui. “They are in my mind when I paint, bringing me back to my roots and the art, culture of colours of Morocco.”
Painting with ‘the golden ratio’ a geometrical method often employed in fresco art, Ghizlan captures the essence of her subjects through vivid colours, oils, traditional tempuras and luminescent metallic paints on canvas. “It is also known as the ‘divine proportion’,” explains Ghizlan. It is the hidden maths behind beauty and designers and artists since Rennaissance have used it.”
Working with a lighting designer, Ghizlan uses a mix of remote controlled warm and cold light that filters through the canvas to create a luminescent effect and an ever-changing image. The colour of the lighting can be altered (through an ipad or remote control) according to preference, so that the inter-active artworks can look different depending on the time of day. The result is a series of unique paintings, reminiscent of the glittering mosaics of the Byzantine Empire.
Offering an innovative way to add interest to a room scheme, the paintings and limited edition prints are available with a variety of framing options and work well as large-scale installations in commercial premises or residential homes.
See Ghizlan El Glaoui’s work at The Glebe Garden Gallery, 5 Cedar Studios, 45 Glebe Place, SW3 5JE.
T: 07917 015112,