A Tunisian Insight

Art is everywhere. Whatever the country, this rule holds true, and Tunisia is no exception; but what is exactly Art? Upon hearing the word, I think of Tunisia. It is indeed not uncommon to hear that Tunisian art was born after the Revolution. In fact, we have several kinds of arts, essentially graffiti and contemporary art in paintings. The purpose of this article is to show the world that art is not only present everywhere, but especially in Tunisia.

First of all, Forget Paris, London, or even New York. Forget also Tokyo, Brazil, and Hong Kong. Exploded by the 2010 revolution, Tunisia is the place where all cultural things happen. The city is currently home to a vibrant street art scene, including Elektro Jaye, who has become one of the most talked about artists in the country after claiming that his work was censored at the 2012 edition Tunis Printemps des Arts (Tunis Spring of Arts). In fact, he is not the only one fighting democracy by graffiti, there are others such as Sarrah Laajimi an eighteen years old girl that became one of the capitals of Tunisia. The high school student is part of 4 Street Family, a group of 25 artists graffers, dancers, beatboxers and filmmakers.

“I used to only draw on paper,” she says. “But then we saw street art abroad on social media, and decided to try it, too. The great thing about it is that everyone who passes by can see it.”  

Secondly, let’s talk now about the pictorial art in Tunisia. because of the prohibition of reproduction of the human image, the reigning Muslim dynasties have stifled pictorial art for centuries. The painters turned to calligraphy.

The introduction of plastic art in Tunisia took place at the beginning of the nineteenth century, through painting under glass. At the end of the century, a new trend emerged, easel painting, which allowed the artist to express his subjective point of view; Ahmed Osman, son of a general of the Tunisian Beylical Army, who studies academic painting in Rome, is the first representative. Among his works is the famous portrait of General Kheireddine Pasha on horseback.

In conclusion, I think Tunisia owes a lot to its incredible artists. There is much more in Tunisian art than the artists mentioned above. I invite everyone to visit Tunisia and possibly explore its art. It will help you learn more about this country (mine) which has an outstanding past and an incredible present.

by Sahli S.