A book that redraws the life of the artist Jilali Gharbaoui

In a new book, a quest to redraw the path of a complex life lived by the outstanding plastic artist, Djilali Gharbaoui, before a tragic, human, surprising departure in writing, alone on a cold night on a public bench.

Researcher Latifa Al-Sarghini’s book “Jilali Gharbawi: The Messenger of Exile”, which is accompanied by a striking banner asking “Who killed him?”, is not based on premature judgments about Gharbawi’s work and life. , and rejects his brevity in his psychological difficulties and his “madness”, advances, through more than two hundred pages in French, an altruistic biography based on research, testimonies of those who lived with him, and his talk about his work, with ” an attempt to approach the character in his composition, and an attempt to understand every detail of his existence.”

Jilali Gharbaoui is one of the most outstanding faces of abstraction in the plastic arts and one of the first founders of “artistic modernity” in Morocco, he was born in Jerf El Malha in 1930 and died in Paris in 1971. His drawings opened for him , after a difficult childhood, the doors of the schools of fine arts in Paris, France and Rome, Italy, and his works are considered today to be of high artistic, historical and material value.

Al-Sarghini’s book, edited by “Studiolo” publications, does not limit itself to dealing with Gharbawi’s life and the impact of his work, past and present, but also traces the steps of his development, his perceptions, the rupture that represented and the intertwining of creativity, history, reality and man; Interested in the visually inspiring, his vision of creativity, his homeland and his reality.

The writer points out errors in testimonies and writings about the artist, pointing out that the facts have been forgotten over time, as well as the scarcity of available archives about him, which “bear witness to the loss of memory of a country, and of the place that it offers”. for the people who establish their culture.”

The researcher warns that the “Gharbaoui phenomenon” that is being talked about today has more to do with the “price of his works at auctions”, than with being “an artist outside the familiarity of artists”, and being “vanguards of abstraction”. in Morocco”.

Speaking about Gharbaoui’s personal journey, the writer mentions that, in his speech about himself, “Jilali Al-Hamimy was absent.”

Contrary to much of the writing about the artist, Latifa Al-Sarghini, in her interpretation of the Gharbaoui experience, does not limit herself to “the succession of tragic events or fertile ground for tragedies”, saying that this “does not necessarily result in work ,” and continues: “Of course, the psychological dimension cannot be overlooked at all when talking about Gharbaoui, but this does not justify, for example, presenting madness as a prerequisite, otherwise looking at his achievement will be incomplete, while the being and the creative passion of the artist are forgotten.

Despite the brevity of Gharbawi’s life, he is “difficult to build” for the book; Requiring an understanding of the context of his life “helps avoid easy clichés, short cuts, and premature judgments,” prompting the researcher to write of his uniqueness, not just because of his and his peers’ passion for him, but “in terms of its temporality, its contemporaries and the distance that separated them”.

The book sees Gharbawi’s path as a testament to “a moment in Moroccan history, its independence and its cultural and linguistic vacillation, which continues its life to this day”, fueled by this division.

This rupture occurred “through abstraction”, and Gharbaoui accepted his rejection and the resulting suffering since his first solo exhibition in Morocco “without compromise in his passion”.

Away from psychological and mental illnesses, the writer focuses on Gharbaoui’s talent, and “his passion for shaping as an attempt to exist (from existence), within the root”.

The book asks, among other things, summaries about Gharbawi’s work and its development, reconstructing the “round trip” paths reflected in some of his paintings.

Among the questions the author asks: Who are we celebrating today? Is a man? Or his work? Or the madness of him? Why did his contemporaries reject him in Morocco? How did you become the hero of contemporary art and the symbolic founder of abstract art in Morocco?

This is a work, then, that attempts to paint a clear picture of a “cursed artist” who was shunned by his society, and later celebrated as dead, an artist whose country didn’t care enough to pay attention to his death, before to stand up at his grave fifty years later to celebrate his discovery. The author also represents a work that reconsiders a series of scattered judgments about Jilali Gharbawi and understands his path and creativity.