February 1, 2023

On Saturday evening, three paintings by Moroccan writer Taher Benjelloun were shown at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Rome in the presence of a group of political, artistic and religious figures.

Al-Taher Benjelloun, accompanied by the Kingdom’s Ambassador to Italy, Youssef Bella, presented his paintings with a message of peace in a ceremony in honor of Rosario Levatino, who was killed by the mafia in September 1990 and beatified by the church. in 2022.

In a statement to the Arab Maghreb Agency, the Moroccan writer and artist, who became the first Muslim to exhibit his paintings in one of Italy’s most important cathedrals, said: “I am proud that Morocco is represented in this picturesque cathedral.”

Benjelloun added that he aims through art to contribute to the dialogue between religions and cultures and to convey the values ​​of tolerance, coexistence and the ancient values ​​adopted by the Kingdom, noting that through this voluntary initiative, he also tried to “shed a beautiful light inside this cathedral where people come to pray for the dead, especially for the victim of the mafia.

In addition to two paintings dedicated to the late Rosario Levatino, Benguellun painted another mural in honor of 15 other Italian judges who suffered the same fate, all with an optimistic and colorful look that impressed visitors dazzled by creativity and depth. The work of a Moroccan artist.

Al-Taher Benjelloun has previously impressed the Vatican as an artist, as in 2020 he created stained glass windows for the church of Saint-Genolphe-de-Torel in the French region of Maine-et-Loire.

Commissioned by the Holy See, Lorenzo Zecchi, museum director and curator of exhibitions, invited Ben Jellone to exhibit these paintings.

The demonstration also included a concert in the presence of the Italian Minister of Justice and paintings by the great Italian painter Piero Pizzi Canella.

The blood-stained shirt worn by Judge Levatino at the time of his assassination, considered one of Italy’s sacred relics, was also displayed in the cathedral as part of its week-long display at several Italian institutions.

The Moroccan writer, journalist and artist has been collaborating with Italy for over thirty-five years. Taher Benjelloun began regular collaborations with major newspapers such as (Corriere della Sera) and (La Stampa) as well as (La Repubblica), in which he is still involved.

Bengellun held his first exhibition in Rome, followed by exhibitions in the cities of Milan, Palermo, Bologna and Turin, and all of his books were translated into Italian.

Last September, Taher Benjellun was crowned during the closing ceremony of the thirty-fourth session of the Camaiore-Francesco Bellomini Literary Prize. This literary prize, established by the poet Francesco Bellomini, is one of the most important international events dedicated to poetry.

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