Inspired by her artist father, Zabh began to draw at a very young age and filled her travel logs with sketches. She turned to art studies and discovered photography. Lacking skills in this field, she decided to complete her training at the Ecole de l’Image des Gobelins in Paris. While she worked as a photographic journalist for 8 years and created posters, she continued to paint and draw.
Her pictorial work reflects a break with the realism of photojournalism. Her development of fluidity, her work with colour and materials and her taste for freedom enhanced the appeal of illustration. Zabh illustrated many children’s books.
Through her intimate work Zabhi invites us on a motionless voyage much like a collection of poetic tales in faded colours. Her artistic universe evokes the emotion of suspended time and her imaginary portrait gallery pays tribute to a peaceful humanity. These pagan icons, melancholic, contemplative, meditative, sensitive and tender, are lost in abstract landscapes. Each character tells his own story and reveals his feelings, which are also those of the artist.
Colour, contrast and transparency give texture to her contemporary portraits. On cardboard or canvas, Zabh superimposes layers of acrylic paint, reworking it to suit her needs. The roughness of the material, the scratched surfaces, the play of motifs are all preferred to flat areas. Stylization distances the heavy materiality, the strength of emotion ensures the melancholy of a fleeting haziness, and the search for the unintentional pictorial brings to life her dream escapism.
The influence of African art is paramount for the characters, ambiances, colours and patterns in her work. A trip to Mali introduced her to colourful frescoes, descriptive fabrics, shades of ochre and red. Zabhi uses this aesthetic that calls for calm and reverie.