One Thousand and One Dreams
Rarely does digitally enhanced photography entrance the viewer the way Yasmina Alaoui and Marco Guerra’s work does. In their life-sized photographic series “One Thousand and One Dreams”, statuesque bodies appear frozen in time, covered completely in meticulously detailed, contemporary Arabic henna patterns. The effect is transcending, drawing the viewer delicately and gracefully into each form.
Alaoui and Guerra were recently winners in the Christiania Arts Foundation’s “The New Classic Nude” Second Edition. Each artwork begins with a black and white nude photograph by Guerra. Layers of Alaoui’s complex ink drawings are then digitally fused with the protrait, with breathtaking results.
Originally from Chile and Morocco respectively, the couple were inspired by the Thousand and One Nights – a legendary collection of tales from the Middle East – and the magic realism of South American literature.
Guerra was a fashion photographer for magazines including Conde Nast Traveler, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. His personal work revolves around the mysteries of women and love, and sensual exoticism.
“I developed the drawing style of One Thousand and One Dreams in my early teens, even before I studied art.” explains Alaoui. “The patterns were inspired by Islamic caligraphy, henna drawing and primitive naive art. The eye pattern that pops up frequently, for example comes from the ‘evil eye,’ which symbolizes protection from bad thoughts.”
The illusion is that the bodies are actually painted then photographed, which would be almost painstakingly impossible. Instead, Alaoui uses the nude photo’s lines as inspiration to create an original drawing using chinese ink and watercolor. The style and mood of the photo dictate the color and styles she chooses.
Christiania Arts Foundation website: http://www.christinaked.com/
A Thousand and One Dreams website: http://www.onethousandandonedreams.com/
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