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Artist Spotlight: Kalakal

Kalakal (Driss Chaoui) is a France-based illustrator with a sharp interest in the queer Muslim identity, and an emphasis on colour

Kalakal (Driss Chaoui) is a France-based illustrator with a sharp interest in the queer Muslim identity, and an emphasis on colour.

How has your lived experience shaped your practice?

Growing up between several cultures definitely influenced how I approach making art. I understood pretty early on that the rules weren’t the same in France and Morocco, and that my identity wasn’t something fixed. This came with its fair share of teenage angst and adult crisis, but also “Aha!” moments when the pieces finally make sense altogether.

My experience as a queer Muslim in France led me to question how injustice exactly works and why. My work explores the good, the bad, the ugly, the mundane and the ridiculous of life, and doesn’t shy away from the political anger we all feel.

What are some of your biggest influences and motivations in your work? What issues are you passionate about working on?

I dived inside the social injustice rabbit hole once and never came out. This has always been something I wanted to explore, with the tools and information that were available at each stage of my life. While pieces of illustration that directly tackle the subject are my favourite, I strongly believe unrelated projects can hold a progressive message too.

Where are you based and what excites you about the creative community around you?

I’m currently based in Toulouse, France. The creatives there have always been welcoming and ready to lend a hand. They’re also pretty proud of their city and close to their local community!

See more of Kalakal’s work HERE

Top surgery is just the beginning An old house, and the hole I’m in From silence to strength: unravelling mental health stigma in my community My fantasies are clouding my judgement What is going on in Sudan? How the British Museum’s partnership with BP has shown the world its allegiance to imperialism at any cost Motherhood and activism: the perfect pair for change Hyper: Navigating the complexities of Kurdishness and capitalism Lessons on shame and vulnerability What is seed sovereignty?