Belgium, b. 1983
Mous Lamrabat has gathered accolades in the world of fashion photography for his glamorous portraits set in an invented world he calls Mousganistan. In his world, people move in garments and accessories that seamlessly blend the iconography of Western capitalism–McDonald’s’ golden arches, IKEA bags, and Nike’s swoosh–with signifiers of Islamic and North African culture, such as henna and the niqab. Lamrabat’s portraits, seemingly glossy editorials, like the 2021 Vogue Arabia cover, take place in utopian spaces that exist beyond a world of cultural divisions. His images reflect the artist’s transcontinental experience as a Moroccan Muslim immigrant living in Belgium, and his use of emblematic icons speaks to his feelings of being caught between cultures. Initially trained to become an interior architect, his love for photography surfaced in 2008. Self-taught, and informed by pop culture and sci-fi movies, his work explores notions of belonging.