What is your name? Where are you based? I am Aïcha Idelcadi and I am based in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley.
What is one of your favorite places or things about San Francisco or the Bay Area? There are so many things I like about this city... For example, the fact that you can be yourself. Just that is enough for me to love this place.
When it comes to favorite places, the first place that comes to my mind is El Rio because I feel like it’s so welcoming to everyone; it’s truly diverse in many ways. The MOMA on an empty Thursday night is one of my favorites hang out. Bernal Hill, day or night, for the views and more recently McLaren park for the same reason!
What is your San Francisco story? When did you come here, from where and what brought you here? I moved here from Paris in 2007 for many good reasons :) And I plan to stay!
Could you tell us a little about Temoins d’ailleurs? What was this project? Did this project influence you long term and if so how? Years later what are some of the lasting keys from this experience? Wow… this seems so far away and at the same time it changed my whole life! My childhood friend Julia and I traveled the world for a year. We wanted this trip to be meaningful and to share our experience so the point of this journey was to meet children all over the world, share things with them about French kids and ask them the same questions about money, poverty, dreams, hopes… We shared their answers with many elementary school students who were following our adventures online with their teachers. It was an incredible adventure that led me to meet you 13 years ago!
What role do the Arts play in your life? Art affects all parts of my life. I teach art everyday to kids, I make art with my own kids and after all that, when I find the time and energy, I make art on my own exploring different forms and media. I use art as catharsis or just for fun. I also love to explore art museums and galleries and see live music and performance as much as I can. I find that both inspiring and therapeutic!
What is the significance of Oum Kalthoum to you? Why did you want to do a print of her? This Egyptian singer’s story is incredible and her talent was unbelievable. She is a true icon in the Arabic world. She was a strong woman who made her path in a very masculine world in the 40’s and 50’s. Her father had to dress her up as a boy when she was a child for her to be able to sing with his group. I grew up listening to her music and other artists like her on vinyl and to me she still has this magical status. I also love the aesthetics of the old photos of her!
What are your thoughts on collaboration? How do you benefit from collaborating with others? Can you tell us a little about your experience creating the Oum Kalthoum print at Sunset Paperworks? Working collaboratively really gives my creativity and motivation a boost. I learn so many new things and I really love it. In connecting through art, I felt like my personal connection to you grew a lot, and during each session, our conversations went deeper. I learned about you but also about myself in this process. Also, I adored the printmaking process and I would love to do more.
If you could curate an exhibition and musical program anywhere in the city where would you do it, what would be an ideal place and what would you include? There is this huge, wonderful amphitheater in McLaren Park, the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, that I would love to see more happen with. The few musical and community events that I’ve seen there have been great but didn’t have the turnout and promotion that they deserved. Let’s do something there!
What are you working on now? Right now I am getting ready for an art exhibition with my 350 art students on the theme of the City. The kids worked on all sorts of projects including lino prints, painting, collage, graphic arts, etc. I’m working on making a short movie with a friend as well, and I’m looking forward to making another print with you!
We will be thrilled to have you back in the studio anytime. To learn more about Aïcha Idelcadi’s Art adventures, please check out her Instagram at ArtExtracted.