Sunday, March 3, 2024
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Home » A dive into Tunisia’s contemporary art scene with the “Et si Carthage ?” exhibition

A dive into Tunisia’s contemporary art scene with the “Et si Carthage ?” exhibition

by Amila Herath
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Selma Feriani is a reference in Tunisia. She has pursued a mission to establish the north African country among major actors of contemporary art on the global scene.

She works between Tunisia and the UK where she two of her galleries are established.

 She has recently inaugurated an 800m2 museum-quality exhibition space in Tunis.

The work of Nidhal Chamekh is on display at the “Et Si Carthage ?” exhibition which translates as “And what if Carthage…’

The title is inspired by a verse by French philosopher Édouard Glissant. Glissant traveled to Carthage in 2005.

“Starting with an exhibition by a Tunisian artist was important to me,” Feriani says.

“This exhibition is about our past, our history but also our modern history.”

Artist Nidhal Chamekh explores history following the destruction by the Romans of the antique city of Carthage in the 2nd century BC.

The poem by philosopher Edouad glissant which is dedicated to neighbouring Carthage remains Chamekh common thread

“I have connected history with a more modern episode, the journey of the exiled leaving the shores of North Africa to reach Europe.”

“Basically, three moments are mostly depicted, from slavery and black slave trade to the destruction of Carthage and the journey of African migrants towards new horizons, northwards.”

The multidisciplinary exhibition includes graphic panels, collages and sculptures.

African masks, key elements of the installation, add striking depth.

“The artwork opening the exhibition is a grimacing mask wearing a hoodie. In a way, this piece combines the African origin, the face, our faces. The hoodie represents exile and migration.”

38-year-old Chamekh unveils and draws parallels between the Roman conquest of Africa and the European colonization of the continent.

“When the Roman empire settled down in Africa it almost shared the same objectives as the French or the Italian colonization: a mindset of ; we will civilize these barbarians.

“Most importantly, centuries later, France or Italy used the Ancient World and the history of Rome to essentially portray themselves as the heirs of Rome.”

The “Et si Carthage exhibition” will show until March 24th in Tunis.

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