Moley Talhaoui

Meet the Swedish-Moroccan artist who set his dual identities on a creative collision course.

Issue 29

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Arts & Culture

“It’s self-centered or narcissistic to believe that one’s own reality is an orchestra played by you.”

Artist Moley Talhaoui didn’t speak until he was four years old—a fact that worried his mother and the psychologists that she took him to, until they realized he was already including complex dimensions in his drawings: Talhaoui wasn’t struggling to communicate, he was just more interested in doing so with pictures than with words. “I’ve always been like that,” he says, shrugging. 

From introverted child to self-taught painter, Talhaoui continues to channel his inner emotional state into a creative outpouring. Born in Sweden to Moroccan parents, his connection to two dramatically different cultures plays out in work that is arresting in its use of graphic imagery yet always restrained. Large canvases are covered with jarring depictions of skeletons and distorted human forms;...

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