Yassine Mekhnache

Yassine Mekhnache (previously known as Yaze) is a French self-taught painter born in Lyon, France, in 1979 who works and lives in Paris. His recent works are hybrids combining the art of embroidery with abstract expressionism painting.

Starting out as a graffiti artist in the early 2000s, Yassine Mekhnache later moved on to a more classical painting style using more conservative materials. He notably gained recognition for creating large-scale paintings in which he combines traditional craft materials like paper with recycled supplies such as cloth or wood, and elements of Moroccan decoration. In these paintings, Mekhnache also incorporates components drawn in marker pens and paint drippings, both nods to his past in the graffiti movement.

In 2007, Yassine Mekhnache started painting on canvases of woven cotton, hand-made by women embroiderers in Tamesloht, a small village near Marrakech, Morocco. In these works, he brings the delicacy of religious embroidery together with the vibrancy of colours and the effervescence of abstract expressionist brush strokes. Mekhnache’s spiritual pilgrimage does not stop in Morocco, as he also draws inspiration from the East, and especially India’s Puducherry region, referenced in his work through the use of silk and sequins.

The artist has grouped these paintings under the name “La Conférence des Oiseaux” (The Conference of the Birds), a reference to 12th Century’s poem by Sufi Persian philosopher and poet Farid ud-Din Attar (Attar of Nishapur) in which thirty pilgrim birds take on a spiritual journey that will lead them to Simurgh, their king, a Persian gigantic mythical bird somehow comparable to the Greek Mythological Phoenix. The poem is an allegory of the Sufi journey to realisation of the nature of God, and each bird conveys a specific meaning, fault and tale for the reader to draw lessons from.

Mekhnache’s work can be found in various public and private art institutions around the world including the Elgiz Museum (Turkey) since 2013, Al Maqam Artist residence (Morocco) since 2010, the Villa Abdelatif (Algeria) since 2009, the Centre d’Art Contemporain of Lacoux (France) since 2002 and the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Alger (Algeria); as well as in renowned private collections such as that of Agnès B and Marianne Orlowsky.

In 2000, Yassine Mekhnache was awarded a UNESCO “special jury prize” (Prix special du jury) at the Paris/Berlin International Meetings. 

  • Giving back to Nature

    Giving back to Nature


    May 17, 2017 - June 03, 2017

  • Yasmina Alaoui & Yassine Mekhnache

    Yasmina Alaoui & Yassine Mekhnache


    March 08, 2017 - March 30, 2017