Born 1934, Boujad, Morocco; died 1967, Casablanca, Morocco
After studying calligraphy in Qur’anic school and at an early apprenticeship with a calligrapher in Casablance, Ahmed Cherkaoui travelled to Paris to pursue his studies at the École des Métiers d’Art and then in Aujame’s class at the École des Beaux Arts, where he became affiliated with the Paris School. He received a grant to study at the Fine Arts Academy in Warsaw in 1961 within the framework of Moroccan-Polish exchanges, and was deeply influenced by Polish avant-garde art, working increasingly with burlap and mixed media.
Within Morocco, he was loosely affiliated with a small group of painters in Casablanca including Houssein Tallal and Andre Elbaz, although he was never part of the Casablanca School. He was briefly professor of drawing at the technical college in Beaumont-sur-Oise. In the summer of 1967, he returned to Morocco, hoping to teach. He died at the age of thirty-two in August 1967 in Casablanca of complications from appendicitis.
Cherkaoui participated in numerous group shows and biennales worldwide, most notably the 2e Biennale des Jeunes (with Mohamed Melehi), Paris, 1961; Peintres de l’École de Paris et peintres Marocains, organized by Gaston Diehl, Rabat, 1962; Recontre International, Rabat, 1963. Since his death there have been many retrospective exhibitions of his work including Cherkaoui: La Passion du Signe, Institut du Monde Arabe, 1996, and Hommage à Cherkaoui, Salon de Mai, Paris and Bab Rouah Gallery, Rabat, 1968. His work is held in international private and public collections including Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Institut du Monde Arabe and Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, and Attijariwafa Bank, Casablanca.