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Myriam au Citron, northern Morocco in the eyes of a French-Moroccan artist

Born in France to a Moroccan father and a French mother, Myriam has always felt connected to her Moroccan side. After she moved to the Kingdom in 2016, she opened her restaurant to honor her love for the Moroccan cuisine, but during lockdown she rediscovered her passion for drawing scenes from northern Morocco.

Myriam, a French-Moroccan artist based in northern Morocco. / DR
Estimated read time: 2'

When the lockdown happened, almost every restaurant in Morocco closed its doors, including that run by Myriam, a French-Moroccan, and her sister in Chefchaouen. But because everything happens for a reason, the closure helped rediscover her passion for drawing. 

During the long hours of confinement, Myriam took up drawing again, reviving her childhood memories of her home town in northern Morocco and embracing the beauty of everyday life.

Born in France to a Moroccan father, who immigrated to the European country to pursue studies, and a French mother, the young artist had always been intrigued by her Moroccan side. Through her father’s Moroccan dishes, she discovered part of her roots.

France, Morocco and cooking

«I discovered Morocco through spices and dishes», Myriam recalled. «I did not have the same eating habits as my friends, my father did all the cooking at home and every time we had guests we were proud to cook them tagines. It was Morocco in France through the Kitchen», the artist reminisced.

The influence cooking and eating Moroccan had on Myriam, indeed, manifested in her drawings. A man with a Djellaba selling colorful fruits and vegetables, a young man eating watermelon by the beach, and a shop owner in his little Hanout, organizing cans on shelves. The location is northern Morocco, where Myriam lives now and aspires from what she keeps seeing outside, in souks and around family dinners and parties.

Her journey with these illustrations and her current unique and cozy style come from a decision she took back in 2016. As an avid lover of cooking, Myriam moved to Chefchaouen during the same year and opened a restaurant in the city to honor her childhood memories. «This is where I started making illustrations about Morocco», she proudly told Yabiladi.

Simply, the young woman wanted to decorate her new restaurant and drew illustrations of her surroundings : the people, mountains and landscape. «At the beginning, I hang some of the drawings in my restaurant and visitors were very interested in them», she recalls.

Morocco through Myriam's eyes

Years later, the pandemic hit Morocco and Myriam had to close her restaurant and move to Tangier, where she currently lives. Staying home, however, did not prevent her from going back to what she enjoys the most.

«During the Covid-19 lockdown, I started to paint again. I created the Instagram account and I did not expect it to go this way», she explained.

On her account, Myriam au Citron, she shared other illustrations, genuine ones that were inspired by her entourage, childhood memories and how she sees her second country. «Drawing helped get through the lockdown, I learned new techniques and improved my drawing, I did it every day all day».

Her illustrations gained great feedback on social media, and Myriam was contacted by brands that liked her work and wanted to collaborate with her. In addition to that, the young artist was marked by her ability to show the country she loves through her eyes and translate the beauty and uniqueness of her roots.

«Through these illustrations, I found a way to share the Morocco I am proud of. Something I struggled with growing up, finding it hard to assume my Moroccan part and dealing with the stereotypes in France about being Moroccan or of Moroccan origin», Myriam explained.

As much as she loves drawing, Myriam is still connected with her other passion : cooking. She hopes to pursue working in the cooking and restaurant field after the current health crisis.

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