Fez, MOROCCO – As a boy growing up in a middle-class family in the small town of Imintanoute, near Marrakesh, Morocco, Mouad Amentague enjoyed watching 3D films and ads.
Now, the 27-year-old is a digital artist in Agadir, a coastal city not far away.
Amentague moved from his small town at the age of 15 to attend high school and university.
But in 2015 when he reached college to major in mechanics, he decided to change his path and follow his passion – graphic design.
“I chose this adventure to present my personality,” said Amentague, “and unleash my ideas and thoughts into my own artworks and designs.”
His family and close friends, Amentague said, were surprised to see him go into digital art.
“Most of the people I know were not expecting that I someday would be a digital artist because I had no prior knowledge in that field.”
Starting with little experience in the digital art field didn’t stop him.
At first, he relied on himself to learn the basics through things as simple as YouTube videos. Then he decided to dive deeper in the field and take it more seriously, so he registered at digital art school to polish his skills and join the workforce.
Amentague said he faced many challenges when he first joined this field.
“I was constantly comparing myself with artists who were more successful and known than me, but then I turned this hurdle to motivation. I started seeing people better as something to push me to do the best I could to be like the people I considered role models in the digital art world, or even better,” Amentague said.
Now Amentague works with famous Moroccan artists, creating digital displays of images and lights that serve as the background at their shows and concerts.
He worked with the popular Moroccan singer Manal Benchlikha at a major concert event called the Mawazine Festival, as well as with other Moroccan performers such as the actor and singer Hatim Ammor.
In addition to this job, Amentague also has a passion for casting his voice toward social issues in Moroccan society through his own artwork. He shares it with a large audience of online followers.
“I am trying to address several public opinion issues that have recently become sweeping over social networking sites, but in my own way,” he said.
Amentague spoke about two of his favorite artworks.
In one image that shows a line of people with toilet seats for heads, Amentague said he tried to touch on YouTube content creators who share either falsified news or offensive content just for the sake of creating some sort of “hype” for themselves to gain viewers and get some “easy money.”
“This also comes at the cost of good content creators who actually have something to offer to the society,” Amentague added, “and deserve fame and support but are impeded by fake hype and fast fame that some influencers strive for.”
In another picture, Amentague expressed his dissatisfaction toward people who do charity work. They serve people who live in remote areas and need help, but the charity volunteers don’t have the good intentions of just aiding people who are in need. Instead, they share their service on social media outlets and gain followers.
“If somebody wanted to do good, they would keep it a secret between them and the people they helped, no need to expose them online,” Amentague said, “because those families and teenagers, regardless of their financial situation, too, have dignity and don’t like to be humiliated and taken pictures of in their weakest moments and sharing it online.”
Amentague said he managed to break the contemptuous stereotype that many have of people from small towns.
“Honestly, I am proud of being a Moroccan from the Imintanoute region,” he said. “Even if I have not been able to impose my name in this field until now, I am very satisfied with what I have reached.”
Manar Lezaar is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.