only 10°C in the thermometer, a grey sky and sad… At 10 o’clock in the morning, Saturday 1st December, the weather in Châlons-en-Champagne, does not first of all to the festivities. Yet it is in a time that took place the inauguration of the Duduchothèque, space dedicated to the cartoonist Jean Cabut, dit Cabu, in this city where it was born. That was too long cried, after his assassination, on January 7, 2015, with his comrades of the Charlie Hebdo , by terrorists, that freedom of expression was offensive.

The families of Cabu discovers the Duduchothèque on Saturday 1 December 2018 to Châlons-en-Champagne. Caroline coupat

Despite this painful memory, it is not the sadness but the joy that colour the voice of Véronique Cabut, the widow of the artist. There she is, elegant and smiling, even if at moments his gaze covers a fleeting veil of melancholy.”The loop is closed, ” she says in the lobby of the Duduchothèque still almost empty. Châlons, this is where it all started for him, he is 80 years old, the age he would have had this year. He absolutely had to make a living for his drawings, press here. Each day, I woke up thinking to perpetuate his memory. Today is a great day. I am very proud.”

” READ ALSO – Châlons-en-Champagne inaugurates its Duduchothèque in homage to Cabu

Nearly Véronique Cabut, Michel, the brother of the artist. This sweet little old man, whose features recall those of the artist of Charlie Hebdo and Canard enchaîné , tells the story of the difficult birth of the Duduchothèque. “We wanted to create something in memory of Jean, rewinds there, but what? It had to be something living. Not a museum, nor a single building to his name.”

Finally, it is the choice of a hybrid facility that has been selected. It “is at once a pedagogical place, with exhibition spaces and, ultimately, a centre of research and interpretation on his work,” says Benoist Appeared, mayor LR of Châlons. A solution that meets Michel, with a slight nuance: “He would have deserved it of her living,” says the brother of the mischievous artist. Yes, but Cabu was always denied of having a place to his name before his death…

“A great tribute to the man”

Franck Riester, the minister of Culture

The room gradually fills: parents, friends, they came in large numbers to discover the Duduchothèque and pay homage to the child in the country. For this inauguration, there are the officials and the journalists. Especially, there is the crowd of anonymous who enters the room to the sound of a brass band. We believe in a fair, festive and popular. This joyous crowd, would probably not have displeased the one we honor today. Quickly, Véronique Cabut made the visit. She “doesn’t like talking” and it feels. She climbed up the three floors of the exhibition K-Bu before Cabu, stopping just a few seconds, here and there, to evoke, emotion, souvenir that reminds him of such and such a drawing. In contrast, the emotion and the joy, they are there. Contagious, to the point that the widow smiled more widely, seeming to finally take the measure of the work done.

” READ ALSO – Two years after the attack on Charlie Hebdo , a “Space Cabu” is going to be inaugurated

Franck Riester, the minister of Culture at the exhibition of Cabu, Saturday 1 December 2018 to Châlons-en-Champagne. FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI/AFP

The ceremony of the three-step cutting of ribbon – by Véronique Cabut, but also the brother and sister of the artist – is in the same vein: a happy and optimistic celebration of life. We laugh so that the fabric is a little too scissors. The speech, bringing the calm in the audience. Véronique Cabut thanked his relatives, with a special mention to Jean-François Pitet, the archivist who accompanied him for over three years. Benoist Appeared to greet a “cultural object is not identified, which is dedicated to the transmission of the values of Cabu, but also to the facilitation of visits with the school and the students.” About Franck Riester, the minister of culture, who has made the trip, he mentions “this great tribute to the man, engaged citizen that was Cabu” that is the Duduchothèque. “A great place to see the light of day. Today, by the founding act, we reaffirm the freedom of expression dear to democracy”, he concluded, triggering a round of applause.

light exposure The duduchothèque exhibition of Cabu in Châlons-en-Champagne, its city of origin. Caroline Coupat / Figaro

While some linger at the buffet washed down with champagne, the drink of the cru, others are discovering more ample exposure. It is a real dive in the Chalons of the 1950s, whose inhabitants, tenderly chewed by a Cabu still a teenager, are the wacky characters. The line is already secure, the situations funny and well thought out, the precocious talent. The municipal councils covered by the draftsman as early as 15 years for the daily newspaper The Union , Jard (the public garden), passing by the father Gilbert, his barber, and by the ball of Gadzarts – students of the school of arts and crafts… Jean Cabut sign yet J-KBu, bite everything and everyone, with malice.

No, Cabu was really not to be ashamed of J-KBu. “My luck is being born at Châlons-sur-Marne”, he said years later, then it will become one of the signatures the more valuable of the parisian press. His city has returned the compliment by dedicating this bright and welcoming Duduchothèque, inaugurated of the most beautiful ways.