The son of an artist, Zakaria Ramhani was born in 1983 in Tangier, Morocco. Unlike his father, a landscape painter and devout Muslim who avoided the human figure in his work, Ramhani focuses almost exclusively on portraiture. His large-scale portraits are executed in a distinctive calligraphic style at odds with traditions of Islamic art. He uses an illegible form of Arabic calligraphy not as a means to transmit a text, but rather to give definition to his forms.
In 2006, at the age of 23, Ramhani became the youngest Moroccan artist to be awarded a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. This launched his professional career, and his works have since been exhibited throughout the Middle East, Europe, Canada, and, for the first time in 2013, the United States. Presently he lives and works in Montreal, Canada.
Ramhani’s art is filled with religious and political symbolism, sometimes arousing controversy. Violence and religion collide in works inspired by the Arab Spring and the recent political upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa.
Seduction, Death, and Power #3 represents power in a series of three related works. Power is depicted as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, who led the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013. In the other two works in the series, Seduction (Fig. 1) is portrayed as an alluring female 2013 figure with bright red lips, and Death (Fig. 2) is starkly represented in the form of a skull.