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Meeting with Dalel Ouasli

Artist

Meeting with Dalel Ouasli - illustration 1

To celebrate the end of the year, Artsper has partnered up with Chais d'œuvre, a club of wine enthusiasts. It was founded by Manuel Peyrondet, who was named France's "Best Sommelier" in 2008. An exclusive gift set was born from the union containing 3 wines, chosen by Manuel, and an artwork by one of Artsper's favorite artists, Dalel Ouasli. This talented artist invites us into her warm, poetic universe: a perfect symbiosis of her Mediterranean origins and sunny personality. 

1. Hello Dalel! Although originally from Aix en Provence, you now live in Paris. Has your cultural heritage and childhood in the South of France had any influence on your art? Was it obvious that you were going to become an artist? 

Yes, absolutely. The Provence region, where I was lucky enough to grow up, and more broadly the Mediterranean are both ingrained in me and my identity. I am greatly inspired by the light of the South, the energy from the sun, its harsh heat, its nature, and the sea. This region has inspired many artists, notably Van Gogh, for whom the sun became the center of the composition and illuminates the world with unique colors and hues. I am originally from a region that is very rich and opens on to the Mediterranean, a land of diversity and vegetation. Over centuries, this region has welcomed craftsmanship, people, and cultures from all around the Mediterranean basin. This incredibly stimulating environment represents a source of inexhaustible inspiration and invites creativity.

I have always done drawing and painting because it's what I love and I have always been attracted to creating. My parents dreamed of me being a lawyer or a doctor, but I dreamed of being an artist. I have always done art alongside my studies. In fact, shortly after my studies in finance, I went to work in London, then to Paris. In parallel with my work, I joined drawing and painting workshops where I took, among other things, life drawing classes. I also took introductory courses in Art History at the Ecole du Louvre. These experiences reinforced my desire to become an artist. Today, I still have this desire, and living in Paris allows me to nourish myself, both artistically and culturally. Painting and creating are a big part of my life and they make me feel alive!

2. Your preferred form seems to be portraiture, and yet there is something infinitely mysterious about the many faces that appear on your canvases. What do these characters represent? 

I am interested in the human image. As diverse as it is, I want to show what we all have in common and to reveal the very essence of a person. 

By painting my characters in this way, I demonstrate our common identity and prove that we are all alike. My paintings invite humanism and refuse the uniformity that confines people. Our perceptions can trap people in a small bubble, but it can also free people. For me, mystery offers a challenge, arouses interest, curiosity, and the desire to discover “the other", to uncover new dimensions. This will surely evolve over time. The paintings I create are like memories that one writes oneself, as Picasso said so eloquently.  

3. Color has paramount importance in your work. It is generally used in flat areas with sharp edges. Why did you make this choice? Which colors inspire you in particular? 

The unique and multifaceted expressions that I paint embody this cultural patchwork that I enjoy putting together. We are all the result of many influences and I think that our environment deeply influences us. So I develop colors according to my life, the mood of the moment, the seasons, and places. I get a lot of inspiration from the Mediterranean atmosphere and the gentle way of life in the South of France. I like to use bright, contrasting colors, sometimes soft, nuanced, and pastel to create strong characters, all in a harmonious spirit. Each shape and color that I use therefore responds to another, thus revealing its unique qualities. For me, a world without color is like a world without love.

Meeting with Dalel Ouasli - illustration 1
Meeting with Dalel Ouasli - illustration 1

Artist's studio / Dalel Ouasli and her work "Bacchanale", created for Chais d'œuvre and Artsper

4. The subject of art and wine immediately inspired you, how did you conceive the work for your collaboration with Chais d'œuvre and Artsper? What would you like to highlight in this painting? 

Yes indeed, I immediately thought of my childhood and the autumn walks in the Luberon around the vineyards and the grapes. I was also inspired by the bacchanals, an homage to the Roman god of wine. The representations of these religious festivals are numerous in art, especially in painting. 

I've allowed myself to be carried away by the fascinating imagery of the ancient god, but I wished to represent a contemporary, festive, and colorful work to brighten up our end of the year. I was inspired by the colors of the maturing vine, which also refer to the different hues of wines. One of the characters is adorned with a bunch of grapes as a reminder of the festive, joyful spirit of the bacchanals. My characters evoke this idea of reunion and celebrations of earthly pleasure. 

5. What memories or emotions does wine evoke for you? What links can you make between art and wine?

In Portugal, I remember discovering an excellent wine from the valley of Douro whilst enjoying a magnificent Fado concert! It was an extraordinary night. 

Painting and wine have a lot in common. They create bonds; they are synonyms with sharing, and they arouse emotions and bring pleasure. Wine has inspired countless paintings and I am thinking, in particular, of Caravage who depicted the sublime Bacchus that I had the chance to admire recently at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. We speak of wine in the same way that we speak of art because wine is quite an art itself! 

6. Which artists particularly inspire you? 

There are many! At the moment, I am fascinated by Italian artists from the Renaissance, in particular Sandro Botticelli. I find it absolutely extraordinary that he represented 200 species of plants in his masterpiece "Primavera". I really like André Lhote's painting as well. I find it interesting that he adopts synthetic cubism in his fauvist palette painting. With Paul Gauguin, it is the more mystical, wild, primitive, and subversive side that interests me. I like this idea of a quest for the unknown and the new. And then there is Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso of course!  

To name some women, I would say, Frida Kahlo and Artemisia Gentileschi, who is lesser-known, but who I love for her perseverance in an era dominated by men! 

I really like my friend, Morgane Pasqualini's ceramics. She is a contemporary artist who creates works imbued with nature. I love her sensitivity, her connection to the earth, her ancient inspirations, and her technique which allows her to develop unique and spontaneous art.

Meeting with Dalel Ouasli - illustration 1
Meeting with Dalel Ouasli - illustration 1

Dalel Ouasli and her work "Bacchanale" / Artist's studio

7. And if you had to cite a work that left a deep impression on you? 

There are lots of them too! 

I would say "La liberté le peuple" by Eugène Delacroix. It is such a strong and meaningful work. I also really like the works of Pablo Picasso from his pink period and those that were made during his neoclassical period. Particularly, the "Grand nu à la draperie". Finally, "La Naissance de Vénus" from Sandro Botticelli is one of the last paintings I had the chance to see and it is absolutely extraordinary. 

8. Lastly, what place is a source of inspiration or a haven of peace and comfort? 

Italy is my favorite destination; art is there too. I strive to go there regularly to discover new wonders. I have had the chance to visit Florence recently when there weren't many tourists and I was struck by the atmosphere of the city! The concept of dolce vita really comes into its own and creativity is greatly encouraged. The Uffizi Gallery is of course one of the must-see places, which alone needs dozens of visits before you can fully appreciate its content. But all places allow for discovery. I am thinking particularly of the Academy Gallery where you can contemplate the impressive David which overwhelms all his admirers.


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