Feature: Ikram El Messaoudi

Beyond the Root is an illustrated philosophy founded by Dutch-based illustrator Ikram El Messaoudi. Her work is driven by the aim to question, explore and discover that what is beyond the physical.

This process is represented by a literal and metaphorical symbol Root that is iconic in her work. With an interest in religion, art and nature she developed a poetic handwriting that searches for a fine balance between sensitive lines and strong shapes. Once a year she introduces an on-going study which is based on a research. Her first study Bloom, a journey to harmony is part of the exhibition ‘Botanic Art: A Flowering Science’ at Noord-Brabants Museum.



Bloom, A Journey to Harmony.

…At the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time. 
– T.S. Eliot

For study 1 Ikram chose the daisy as a starting point for a series of illustrations. In the series she explored the plant on a deeper level, from the external to the internal.

With the project she wants to give a response to the current fashion industry which is mostly focused on the external factors of a product and neglects its internal values. Fashion is constantly repeating its trends, but it seems that there is no innovation and no progress. The intelligent, experimental and ethical is missing. ‘Bloom’ symbolizes the need for the inner journey, the dialogue and experiment.

Together with a biologist she explored the daisy beyond the molecular world. The result of this search is translated into a film inspired by a 1977 film Powers of Ten, in collaboration with motion designer Tashina van Zwam and sound designer by Sebastiaan Smink.


Ikram El Messaoudi (Netherlands, 1989) is an illustrator, print designer and founder of Beyond the Root. She is a graduate of the ArtEZ Fashion Masters (MA, 2015) and the Utrecht School of Arts (BA,2011). Since 2011 El Messaoudi works as a commercial and conceptual illustrator represented by Angelique Hoorn Management and has commissioned for clients such as de Bijenkorf, Glamcult, Financieel Dagblad and Modefabriek. At ArtEZ she gained professional experience as a print designer at Viktor & Rolf.


Find her on instagram and BeyondTheRoot!

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