For some time now, Nour-Eddine Jarram (1956) focuses on current events concerning the refugee crisis and the position of immigrant youths in our society. In 1979, Jarram came to Enschede, The Netherlands from Casablanca to continue his art education at the AKI academy. By the end of the 1980s he was making a name for himself by mixing Western art with Arabic elements in his paintings, amongst others at the illustrious Amsterdam gallery The Living Room. Although fully integrated into the Dutch community and art world himself, he is also familiar with the toilsome struggle of the immigrant trying to find his way in our western society. Jarram uses the portrait Push The Button to characterize this subject matter.
“His face has been painted as if he were a clown, with a red dot (the button) on his nose as a metaphor for his explosive personality! These youths feel misunderstood; although everybody in this country is talking about them no one really seems to know them. With the rise of populism, the gap between the Islamic and Western cultures in which these youths are living has only widened. In my watercolours and paintings I am trying to give them a face and a platform. I want to show their fears, but also their successes and hopes, sometimes bringing a humorous undertone to this serious topic. Most portraits are based on selfies that they share on social media. This is where I get my images, it’s the pond from which I fish.”