This section features a number of abstract works by artists from North Africa. On the central wall (on the left) is Jilali Gharbaoui’s 1969 work Composition. Gharbaoui was a leading artist of the modernist movement in Morocco. Unlike others at the time, such as his contemporary Ahmed Cherkaoui, who grounded their modernist practice in symbols of Moroccan culture, Gharbaoui rooted his abstraction in the materiality of paint and gesture of the brushstroke on canvas. Practicing as both a painter and sculptor, Gharbaoui’s earlier works are relatively representational. His later abstract works, however, such as this 1969 painting, highlight the movement of the brushwork and emphasize the layered texture of the paint on the canvas. Notice, for instance, the loose red brushstrokes whose linear repetition forms the background and the buildup of paint around the white circular forms. Gharbaoui often leaves patches of canvas untouched by paint. As such, Composition, is a true tribute to modernism.
Text by Sarah Rogers
© Photo: Courtesy of Barjeel Art Foundation, Photography by Capital D Studio
Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation. Sharjah Art Museum, UAE, 12 May 2018 - 31 May 2023. Curators: Salwa Mikdadi, Mandy Merzaban, Karim Sultan.