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In Loving Memory of Khnata, a painting by Khadija Zizi

In Loving Memory of Khnata 

Khadija Zizi

Acrylics, Sand, Fabric, and Collage on Linen Canvas

80 x 80 centimeter 

Private Collection

Rabat, Morocco


​The painting is extremely close to my heart. It is a tribute to and a celebration of Khnata, my late mother. I made it in 2012, a time which ushered in a major feature of my current artistic creativity; namely, using crafts that Mom had made by hand.

The painting features a portion of a pillow case that my mother had embroidered/stitched in a motif called “Tarz al Gharza”. It is a very intricate, meticulous, and arduous needlework design. I remember her telling me that it took her six months to finish one pillow case. She also used the same design in the henna tattoos she drew on my hands (and sometimes feet), on major holidays.

While I was working on this painting, a few interesting things happened:

First, while I pasted the fabric onto the canvas, I was scared to touch it with paint. I felt as if I was going to somehow damage the great artwork, or “hurt” my mother.

Second, as I was paint-brushing the background, suddenly and out of nowhere, a red heart appeared. I absolutely had no intention of painting a heart. I guess my emotions spoke for me in a subconscious way! As it turns out, my artistic streak is somewhat healing and therapeutic.

Exhibiting this piece on the first anniversary is a way to celebrate art and to celebrate my mother.

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