A Writer, a poet and a painter, Tahar Ben Jelloun is all this and much more. Throughout his life, he has established himself as a link between the two shores of the Mediterranean, a messenger of peace for peoples and a passionate defender of cohesion and harmony between religions.
Through his writing, Tahar Ben Jelloun depicts the world and society around him, often associated with violence, brutality, taboos and unspoken words, a fertile ground for his commitments and his pounding. But with painting, it is a completely different reality that is revealed: spiritual, luminous, positive, colorful and joyful, as life can be.
Jérôme Clément, the initiator of the project, is well known in the world of arts and culture. It was at his invitation that Tahar Ben Jelloun, the artist (even if he does not want to be qualified as a painter or an artist) designed the stained glass windows of the small church of Saint Genulf and Saint Charles where Clément was baptized in the village Le Thoureil which borders the Loire.
This invitation to bring religions together under the brush of Tahar Ben Jelloun in a small church may have its origins in the family history of Jérôme Clément. He, born of a Catholic father and a Jewish mother, baptized Catholic, at the request of his paternal grandparents, but who only discovered in 1996 that his maternal grandparents had died deported to Auschwitz.
For his part, Tahar Ben Jelloun admits to having “been surprised, then delighted and even proud.” Can you believe it?! “An artist of Muslim culture intervening in an old church,” he enthuses. “To my knowledge, this would be the first time.”
For Tahar Ben Jelloun, the symbol of the creation of these stained glass windows is all the more necessary because “in these troubled times when Islam is diverted and associated with a criminal enterprise, it is important that an artist of Muslim culture can invite light to illuminate the minds that enter this place to pray or meditate”.