Home / Morroco / “Gharbaoui: The Flight of Roots”, an exhibition event at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

“Gharbaoui: The Flight of Roots”, an exhibition event at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art



Rabat – The Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, opened on Monday, an exhibition event in honor of Jilali Gharbaoui, forerunner of lyrical and gestural abstraction and one of the founders of modern art in Morocco.

As a result of an institutional collaboration between the National Museum Foundation (FNM), the Al Mada Foundation and the Attijariwafa Bank Group, this event exhibition entitled “Gharbaoui: The Flight of Roots” brings together more than 70 works that trace the artist’s successful career which has its roots in the artistic atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s.

It will be open to the public from September 23rd to February 8th, 2021.

It is enriched by a chronology tracing the life of Jilali Gharbaoui, who walked very young at the age of 41

(1971), and by documentations from the painter’s artistic and personal life, in particular press archives, catalogs, his exhibition drawings, and book projects and notes.

The exhibition highlights the pictorial works of this creator, who leaves the freedom to the unforeseen of the materials and the randomness of the gesture, with repeated lines using a point, the artist’s singular signature, which denotes a certain mockery.

For the President of the FNM, Mehdi Qotbi, despite the coronavirus pandemic, “this thing that hangs around everywhere” must remain culture because it is “the essence of life”.

In a statement to MAP at the inauguration of the exhibition, Mr. Qotbi said: “Gharbaoui and (the painter Ahmed) Cherkaoui are the two greatest Moroccan artists. Those who have given modernity an extraordinary legacy of colors and gestures. “

During this difficult time he continued: “We need the light and the colors that Gharbaoui offers us today.” Jilali Gharbaoui has always “fought for modernity and so that we can see it through the eyes of a great artist”.

Mr. Qotbi said he was particularly “moved” by this exhibition, which also reminds him of the role the late Gharbaoui had played in his own life as an artist.

In a comment by Gharbaoui on display among the documents tracing his life, the artist recalls his return to Morocco in 1956, where he had put up some posters in Rabat and Tangier. The audience, so the testimony goes on, “were amazed. They gathered around the posters, speechless … It was something new for them. I therefore insist that Morocco knew abstraction in painting with me and then with Cherkaoui after me … Abstraction in general was naturally derived from the Islamic decorative arts and from ‘architecture’.

This exhibition was complemented by the presence of several personalities, in particular the Minister of Tourism, Crafts, Aviation and Social Economy, Nadia Fettah Alaoui, Director General of MAP, Khalil Hachimi Idrissi, the The Ambassador of France to Morocco, Hélène Le Gal, the General Director of the Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion (CDG), Abdellatif Zeghnoun and personalities from the art and cultural world, in particular Fouad Bellamine and Abderrahman Tazi.

Jilali Gharbaoui was born in Jorf El Melha in the Sidi Kacem region in 1930 and died in Paris in 1971. Gharbaoui was taken to an orphanage when he was a child and left to fend for himself as a teenager. He will be a “lonely” man in search of light and freedom.


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