‘The Green Book’ is a multidisciplinary group ex- hibition that will creatively challenge the political ideologies of Muammar Al Gadda by directly referencing the book he wrote and published in 1975 which had laid out his vision for governing Libya. The show will present artistic works that ex- plore and respond to the 42-year era (1969-2011) in which he ruled and how his experiment with cer- tain theories and adopted slogans damaged the Libyan social fabric when put into practice.
In 1975 Muammer Ghadda wrote and published “The Green Book”, an unusual manifesto in which he raged against liberal democracy, communism and capitalism, whilst proposing his ‘Third Universal The- ory’, an alternative system based on the establish- ment of the ‘General People’s Committees’. The book became a paramount document in the sense of how it was pushed down to the population and how it informed the socio-economic-political structure that was put in place in Libya.
For instance, Libyan children spent two hours a week studying the book as part of their curriculum. Excerpts were also broadcast daily on television
and radio. Its slogans were found on billboards and painted on buildings all over the country alongside images of the ‘Brother Leader’. The Green Book was set to become a symbol embedded in the mind and social behaviour of every citizen.
The book was divided into three sections dealing with the Social, Political, and Economic aspects to
a governing system that accorded to Gadda ’s in- tellectual vision. However, when its bizarre theories were applied to a real living and breathing society, it only led to a state of uncertainty and even chaos. Due to his policies, Libya and the Libyans became more and more isolated from the rest of the world with this odd infrastructure that failed to provide its promised fruits of a pure democracy and right econ- omy. Furthermore, the societal fabric was effectively and deeply damaged due to the book’s ambition to be a panacea to all societal ills but which in fact had created more ills and inequalities.
’Oh, Gadda ...’, I have stopped counting the times I’ve heard this comment whenever I am asked about my nationality. I nd it rather provocative when someone equates an entire country, with a popula- tion of 6.8million, with one dictator-leader; who, in truth, over 42 years consumed the country’s wealth on utopian goals of either Arabism or Africanism, whilst drifting away from maintaining a basic social, political and economical infrastructure for the coun- try’s citizens as he claimed he would do in The Green Book he wrote.
’‘But you were a rich nation with free education and free health care?’ Such is the conversation about Libya’s past pre-2011 years, often continuing with the stereotype of how Gadda was a great leader to his people and who wanted to unite the Africans and secure the continent’s independence through a golden African currency. These are, of course, but a result of the former regime’s use of revolutionary propaganda and show how far it reached.
“As an antidote, this exhibition will be bringing forward some of the real and honest accounts that would re ect, discuss, examine and correct the un- founded narratives; and, also, to put forward the ones that were never told or that were never allowed to be written in the rst place.
“In late 2018, WaraQ partnered with Le Cube inde- pendent art room in Rabat, Morocco. There we an- nounced an open call for artists to attend the one- month residency programme ‘Travelling Narratives’. organised by Le Cube and supported by AFAC, (Arab Fund for Arts and Culture), Goethe Institut Morocco, the Institut Français du Maroc, the Centre Jacques Berque and the Ministry of Culture and Communica- tion in Morocco.”
“When I first thought of The Green Book as a topic for the residency, It was still a new concept I wanted to tackle and work around, driven by the necessity to discuss such a topic that is crucial to most Libyans, but also to the audience of the exhibition in Rabat as the political landscape changed the nature of the relationship between the two Maghreb countries since 2014, from no visa needed to almost a full ban on citizens to travel to Morocco, Therefore it was im- portant to keep these cultural bonds that are slowly disappearing with the lack of artistic and cultural dialogue between the two territories.”
“The Green Book exhibition was opened to the pub- lic in February 2019, including the works of ve se- lected emerging artists: Malak Elguel, Rawand Elha- ress, Sarri El Faitouri, Ibrahim Omar Almokhtar and Suhaib Tantoush who was the artist in residence.”