Artist Spotlight

Mous Lamrabat : Redefining Cultural Identity

From his first Jordans to the legacy he is building

Mous Lamrabat once said this his love for sneakers is originated in his childhood. He grew up in a Belgian city, where he played basketball with his friends who all wore fancy shoes. As he grew up in a family with 9 kids he had to buy hist first pair of Nike Air Jordans himself. Now, Mous is working as a successful photographer all around the globe. His sneakers collection has expanded to up to 200 pairs of shoes…
Let´s travel to Mousganistan
Vogue Loves: de controversiële 'Mousganistan'-expo vol designerboerka's

In March 2019 the artist launched his first solo-exposition named Mousganistan. This exposition refers to the fashion-industry and his mixed identity. Existing between many worlds - Moroccan, Berber, African, European, Muslim – can be confusing. Hence why Mous created Mousganistan: a colorful universe where the North African diaspora finally feels at home. Here,McDonald's golden arches become henna and Mexican wrestling masks accessorize caftans.

14 Mous Lamrabat — Cocktail Brut

"For those living between cultures, you feel like you have to choose and sometimes you feel like a sell-out," he said. "That's whyI started this Mousganistan thing, because we don't have to choose. And if you have both, and can navigate between them, then that makes you unique."

Mous, art and fashion

With his exposition Mous wants to demonstrate that fashion is also about art. He aims to redefine the value of traditional clothing, such as the djellaba (a traditional, loose-fitting robe). "The djellaba can look super fashionable and I love that it's a blank canvas making status disappear. Why not create work that lets people see it as a beautiful thing?" he said. "I'm waiting for the moment to drop a djellaba collection because when I wear it in Belgium, people stare." Aside from the djellaba, the niqab or big layers of fabric are also used often throughout his work. Mous wants to show that modest dressing can be fun. Also, the models with fabric also means that the viewers can recognize themselves in the work  "If you hide a face, the mystery starts. When people read images, the first glance is always to the eyes-- eliminate them and people go straight to the third sight. After that, maybeI can create a fourth, a fifth and a sixth sight." The more mystery a picture contains, the more room for interpretation remains. Mous said: "Two people kissing under a scarf has been read as being about homosexuality or two people meeting for the first time after a wedding…For me it's just nice to start the conversation and make you think because normality doesn't actually exist."

Work in progress

Mous explains that he loves the spontaneous aspect of art as well. To him the quality of the camera does not matter as long as the idea is good. He prefers working in Maroc, because if you got a good idea there you ‘just do it’.  The outcome of these shoots is often humoristic and happy. This positivity is unique, pleasing and thought-provoking. Mous once said: ‘Emotion penetrates the soul, so I find that humour and fun are the best tools to use. I can't change people's prejudices; I can only show them that there is so much more to us than they might think’
The right to be yourself

The artists’ biggest nightmare is that he is being chosen for something because he is African or Moroccan or Muslim and not because of the quality of his work. Lamrabat hopes his success lays the groundwork for the third-culture kids to come. "I love where I'm from. My life goal is to show that we are creative and we're moving with everyone else. We are here and we have the right to be ourselves."

The Future

He also states that he never wants to peak in his career: ‘If you already headall of your highlights, then what will happen tomorrow?’. Mous is thus a very ambitious and passionate artist. What I find very inspiring is the diversity and creativity that exist within his work. The ability to merge several cultures into one image is unique. Mous amazes me with portraits that definitely succeed in changing perspectives on culture and identity. They are fluid and can be combined and intertwined in magnificent ways.

Mous's Work is available on his Instagram @mouslamrabat or at 

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