CANNES, May 20 2013 (IPS) - By now, most movie fans know that American actor Leonardo DiCaprio was in this southern French city for the annual Cannes Film Festival. But fewer people are aware that Willis from Tunis and Kichka of Israel were also here.
Willis is the pseudonym of Nadia Khiari, a cartoonist from Tunisia whose acerbic and ironic drawings are gaining an international following, mainly through social media and selected journals. Michel Kichka is the prominent Belgian-born, Israel-based cartoonist whose work is viewed eagerly in his adopted country.
Tunisian street artist eL Seed’s calligraphy-inspired work on Broome Street, across from White Box. (all photographs by the author for Hyperallergic)
It has been sixty years since the last Tunisian artist, Abdelaziz Gorgi, was formally shown in New York, but that’s the first of two claims to history made by The After Revolution, a series of exhibitions showcasing Tunisian artists at White Box on the Lower East Side — the focus of this review — as well as 5Pointz in Long Island City and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) Gallery on the Upper East Side. The exhibition’s second and more obvious claim to history is as a comprehensive engagement with the question of revolution as it stands in Tunisia, two years after Mohamed Bouazizi immolated himself and brought down a tyrant.
Two and half years after young Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi triggered the beginning of Arab Spring when he immolated himself in front of his local municipal building, Tunisians are still struggling to re-define and re-build their nation. “The After Revolution,” sponsored by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) as part of the World Nomads Tunisia Festival, is a celebratory — yet cautionary — look at the tiny North African country in the wake of the “Jasmine Revolution,” which toppled the 25-year long autocratic presidency of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The three-venue exhibition includes graffiti at 5Pointz, photography at White Box, and a provocative exhibition of multimedia works at FIAF that engage with the growing presence of extreme Islamists in Tunisia.
An exhibition at the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe
Opening: Fri, April 26, 2013, 7 p.m., ZKM/HfG, Atrium 3
Over the course of the “Arab Spring” the region to the south of the Mediterranean is undergoing a state of transformation, the events of which are followed in Europe with great interest, but also with hope and skepticism. With respect to content, the focus of the exhibition “Cross-border” is on artist’s critical investigation of various thematic aspects of the concept of borders, the attitudes and approaches to borders and strategies of overcoming them. Questions emerge within the context of the exhibition, which adopt a clear position to this issue and elaborate a range of solutions, which treat regionally specific, political or cultural aspects.
Artists: Arwa Abouon, Lara Baladi, Anna Boghiguian, Yto Barrada, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Diana El Jeiroudi, Rana ElNemr, Reem Ghazzi, Mona Hatoum, Susan Hefuna, Emily Jacir, Amal Kenawy, Bouchra Khalili, Diala Khasawnih, Randa Mirza, Faten Rouissi, Mouna Jemal Siala, Oraib Toukan
WORLD NOMADS TUNISIA: THE AFTER ЯEVOLUTION
PRESENTED IN COLLABORATION WITH FIAF*
AS PART OF THE NEW MUSEUM’S 2013 IDEAS CITY FESTIVAL
CURATED BY LEILA SOUISSI
MAY 4 – MAY 18, 2013
OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY, MAY 4, 2013 | 5 – 8PM
PANEL DISCUSSION: TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013 | 1PM
PANEL DISCUSSION WILL BE LIVE STREAMED AT WHITEBOXNY.ORG ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT.
ARTISTS: HÉLA AMMAR, AMINE BOUSSOFFARA, WASSIM GHOZLANI, AMINE LANDOULSI, ZIED BEN ROMDHANE, RIM TEMIMI, AND PATRICIA TRIKI.
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