How Representation in Art Matters

As an artist, I wait for life to unfold rather than orchestrate it.


Art is a fickle thing. It constantly changes in appearance, motivation, purpose, and classifications. Art can be many things and appear in many ways despite the route taken. For instance, painting (a type of art) used to be a symbol of status but now became an elaborate scheme of laundering money, or how painting used evolved from portraits to landscapes to abstracts, or the different schools of painting that focused on its different elements. 

If there’s one type of art that never changed despite its long history, it would be street art. The common class’ life and struggles laid on the cold asphalt for the world to bear and realize. Although it changes in expression (dancing, painting, photography, etc) street art as a whole typically focuses on seeing the beauty in the day to day life and handling it.

In Morocco, street art has been a present topic since the early 2000s. From rappers to dancers and actors, talented individuals feel the need to express their emotions in a performative impactful manner.

Today’s interview features a part artist, part engineer, and part-business woman who transforms idioms and common phrases into obscene in-your-face art pieces and captures the serenity of daily life through her lenses.

Introduce Yourself

Meet Iman, a 23-year-old individual who has been showcasing her creative talent for the past 5 years. She is an artist who doesn’t shy away from representing the taboo Moroccan culture and paints the situation how it is. Through her experiences and sense of aesthetics, Iman has tackled different subjects and even worked on multiple projects.

As a kid, Iman’s first intimate exposure to art was through her father who was a caricature artist for a popular Moroccan newspaper. This bond she has with her father encouraged her to draw and explore this path.

I used to love seeing my dad’s drawings get featured in newspapers. Since I grew up with ADHD, I was always curious about exploring new things. Part of why I create socially-challenging work was through my father’s career path…. A lot of people think I have some daddy issues because of who I am but in reality, we’re close.

While growing up, Iman steered away from drawing and moved on to other hobbies like reading; which she did a lot especially topics related to philosophy, anthropy, psychology, etc.

She currently resides in France, where she learned how it feels to be an Arabic woman in Europe. Amazingly, Iman relies on her art to represent and be inclusive to help her fight against the cultural shift and cultural view of Morocco to the world. 

I used to think that I was rebelling against Morocco and Arab culture with my art. But what I realized is that everyone is suffering from the same issues and we all need empowerment.

How did your artistic career start?

art representation morocco art

During high school, Iman used to go to a place called “l’uzine” which is a place that developed and promoted budding artists. L’uzine reminded her about the pleasure of sketching and drawing. More importantly, Iman also discovered a passion for theatre where she wrote and acted in different pieces in Darija.

L’uzine was a crucial place for my development. The place was diverse and it was a safe space for me, the sheer fact of meeting different people. It represented so many of us, and I think that seeing others like me helped me identify who I was.

This culture place was Iman’s first experience in seeing the pure Moroccan culture and it deconstructed stereotypes and conservative mindsets inside her. She also received guidance and help from fellow artists. Funnily, she searched for her old sketchbook and showed her first drawing which was the sentence “Goli li baba” in cursive Arabic.

During my time, i received guidance and help from many people there. Talented folk like normalisnormal and ed.oner who have guided me and allowed me to thrive.

During this period, Iman’s art was mostly rebelling against society and culture. Her work was bold, sexual, and out there. But more importantly, Iman believed that through her art, she can help represent minorities and in turn empower them.

Interestingly, after going to France, she found that her art helped her to stay connected with her culture. This is also magnified when considering the societal issues she faces as a Moroccan in France.

The culture shock and isolation I faced, made me curious to learn more about Morocco and its culture… You will never be french and will always be perceived as 3arabi, so might as well as embrace it.

This quote was also followed by a quick 3-minute break by listening to Rai and giving me an exclusive look at her first sketchbook.

What were some of the obstacles you faced when starting?

art representation morocco art

Since Iman likes to tackle sexuality and social taboos in her work, I assumed that she receives lots of hate messages from male followers, as well as other harassment and critique.

I show my strong personality on social media. I’m not afraid to publicly call out people and fight them. However, that rarely happens since my work was shared by the right people, so I was exposed to organic communities that supported my art.

What inspired the style and messages of your work?

Representation and Moroccan culture.

What do you want people to learn from your art?

One apparent thing Iman spoke highly about was representation. She insisted on the importance of representation and how it empowers groups of people while demolishing societal issues. She is unapologetically herself and recommends everyone to be that as well.

You can be you and you don’t have to be a certain way or act something else. I think that me being me helps inspire others to be themselves. I just want to freely be me.

Iman admitted that she liked to do a little bit of trolling by saying:

I like to make drama and shocking just to test the limits of what I can do.

Can you tell me more about your banned account?

My first account was the evolution of my work from A to Z. It showed my artistic direction. However, this one time I was tagged on a popular friend’s story and their fans found my account. They didn’t like what they saw so they mass reported me.

Do you think it takes courage to break the norms and paint social taboos?

Yes, it does. But courage is nothing when compared to support and encouragement. Support gives you a reason to continue working, continue inspiring, and continue empowering.

Can you explain the process of making an art piece from concept to drawing?

Just like previous creatives interviewed in this blog, Iman keeps a notes app where she notes everything from her daily life which helps her kickstart ideas.

Ideas come from my thoughts, daily life, conversations… I usually look for reference pictures so I ask some of the people related to me, to pose for me. Following the reference, I draw a physical sketch and take a picture of it to make it digital and enhance it.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Throughout the short life span of Lessons and Obsessions, Iman’s answer to this question was the most shocking and surprising so far. Yet when you think about it, it makes total sense especially considering her current location and nature of art.

I get my inspiration from mainstream “stupid” Moroccan channels like Chouftv and Smile You. I know it’s silly but these channels usually represent the peak of Moroccan culture. It helps me remain updated on Moroccan society and stay connected to my roots… plus some of them are ridiculously funny.

Can you define your main audience?

My original account used to be mainly males. However, this new account is more balanced which is better for sure… By dudes, I mean guys that do not compliment my work just for something romantic or sexual in exchange. If we want to talk analytics, it’s mostly progressive people under 25.

Have you ever thought of monetizing your art?

Not really, I don’t own my art. I can give you the original if you want. I don’t care since I post my art to represent which means credit is irrelevant. Even if I did, [monetize art] the people who would buy my work are super niche since my work art is graphic and sexual.

Luckily for Iman, she’s a businesswoman at heart so she is working on a few projects that she believes people will enjoy. She exclusively teased something new.

I have a new physical project coming in the near future, which a lot of people will enjoy since it mixes a popular concept with Moroccan culture. Look forward to that!

Do you prefer photography or digital art? Which one is more enjoyable for you?

They are both my babies. But I think I would have to go with Digital art because the possibilities are endless. Due to my ADHD, I get bored easily and digital art helps me explore all of them.  

What’s your favorite art piece and photography project?

art representation morocco photography

For photography, it has to be the girl on the train. I loved it because she was emotionally in the same state as I was at that moment… Ever since starting street photography I wait for life to unfold rather than orchestrate it.

As for art, it has to be the one of drinking from the clay cups that says “Fik l3tech”

art representation morocco art

What has been your biggest achievement since starting?

art morocco lo fights

My biggest achievement has to be working on the album cover of lo fights’ as well as taking their picture. The photo was taken at a place where corporations have taken over life and people mindlessly toll their life away, so it was the perfect area to do so. 

What is next for you and your creative talents?

After graduating I want to work on commissions. I don’t have anything planned but I won\’t be stupid to drop a full-time job or good career to pursue art full-time. But if I do get the chance to work as an art director then why not?

What is your latest obsession?

Magnum almond flavor

She said as she took one from the fridge and ate it during our interview.


In a world where people are more isolated and insecure than ever, where uncertainties and doom always seem to be on the verge; a moment’s respite and empowerment can be found through art.

Iman’s art whether its photography or digital drawings aims to represent Moroccan culture and grant its spectators power no matter where they are in the world. Although some might disagree with her message or what she portrays, her obscenity and security are what make her stand out and memorable.

Talking to Iman for the first time on a laggy video call, felt as if I was talking to a dear friend. At no point did things feel awkward nor did we misunderstand each other. It\’s all thanks to her unique and accepting personality and probably because she’s an Aquarius and I’m an Aries.

In true Lessons and Obsessions format, the lesson that we can learn from Iman is not some grandiose marketing technique or psychological social trick. No, today’s guest reminds us that it is crucial to have confidence in ourselves and be who we truly are.

I’ll finish this article with a comment I made as a reply to a point she brought up earlier in the conversation.

Being you works like a filter. I used to be afraid to mentally and physically show myself yet when I started doing it, I found that I genuinely connected with people and those that hated who I was, left by themselves.

Recent Post

About Me

Abdo spends most of his time either binging Youtube or writing what is on his mind. Hailing from Morocco, this trilingual writer is passionate about video games, entrepreunership, and interesting stories

Follow Me