Building new process of knowledge in the world of art. Case Study in Tunisia

After the events of the revolution, the construction of Tunisia’s recent history seems to be fragmented. On the other hand, the most imminent and thorough attempt to examine the current context, at the historical, intellectual, aesthetic, and even the political, is done through the artistic expression. Indeed, artists represent the “new” centerpiece of society.

Nevertheless, the political system does not seem to support artists visibly. The latter have been denouncing for years and especially after the events of the revolution, the lack of political action in the field of visual arts and contemporary art in general.

The events of the Spring of Arts are the best proof. Indeed, in June 2012 at the opening of the Biennial of Contemporary Art, the Tunisian art scene has witnessed a harrowing censorship and many artists have been threatened in person. In this context, art has become a political issue in shaping the future.

To respond to this horrible act of censorship, the Center of Living Art in Tunisia has established an exhibition “Be there” which content was considered as a kind response to the attacks against creative freedom in Tunisia.

Creation takes the form of resistance. It is a way of addressing the problem from each artist’s unique perspective, faced by ignorance. It was only then that the artist was able to develop a kind of shield, although still fragile to face the leveling and the lack of differentiation and thus enhance the role of artistic education in society.

How then to re-awaken the power of a local productive and constructive creativity? Does the artist finally find himself the only one who seeks to change things? Is self-education the best way to develop his or her practice?

To answer these questions, I decided to discuss these issues with a number of artists who participated in the exhibition of “Be there”: four artists and the director of the Center of Living Art, who is also the curator of this exhibition.

In this debate, participants were asked to answer some questions :

How do you manage to get project proposals at the national or international level? Do you have some specific process or approach?

Are you in frequent contact with some institutions or local artists? If yes,

Could you please give us a clearer idea about the objectives of your cooperation?

Have you ever been in direct contact with the state, I mean the ministry of culture, for any project realization? What role does the state play in the promotion of contemporary art?

  • How would you define the concept of Self-education in the artistic context? And what does Self education mean to you?
  • What role does Self education play? Do you think that it gets nurtured through the spirit of sharing with artists?

Do you think that self Education is a way of resistance? If yes, can you please give some examples?

Finally, I decided to film this debate to better raise the voices of these artists and enhance the awareness of the difficulties that artists constantly face in Tunisia. Because it is not about making Tunisian artists visible at the international level. We should first understand that contemporary art in Tunisia, and in the process of its creation, offers a complex dimension compared to its Western definition. The implementation of a collective and socio-cooperative dimension, (pillar in the structure of the world of art) is still uncertain and highly ill-assorted in Tunisia. In addition, the tricks on the art market are not well known, which therefore does not help in the birth of a solid structure of a social network.

Gabsi, W. (2013).

In. Errors allawod. 16thYoung artists Biennial. Ancona (Italie). Quodlibet Editions.

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