After the events of January 2011, Tunisia has experienced radical economic, societal, and artistic change. Artists were the first to react to this upheaval and threw off entrenched prohibitions to embrace free expression in all areas of art. Despite lingering unrest and disturbance that left some faced with exile and destruction of their artworks, these artists continue to resist and fight for their freedom.
As part of the New Museum’s 2013 IDEAS CITY Festival, White Box and French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) are pleased to present the work of seven contemporary Tunisian photographers, Héla Ammar, Amine Boussoffara, Wassim Ghozlani, Amine Landoulsi, Zied Ben Romdhane, Rim Temimi, and Patricia Triki, many who have developed professional careers throughout Europe and Africa. Under the regime of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, photography was controlled by licenses granted by the Ministry of Information, restricting the free documentation of notable events of public life. Following the revolution and Ben Ali’s exit, Tunisian photographers took to the streets, documenting the events that were unfolding before them.
Photography has served as a widespread tool of revolution, communication and testimony, capturing events that will linger in the artistic and political histories of Tunisia.
Some of the works exhibited in New York are prohibited in Tunisia.
About the Curator
After working as a freelance journalist, Tunisian curator Leila Souissi began producing fashion shows, concerts and ballets around the world. Since 1998, she has become a well-known curator in the contemporary art world.
She recently organized Dégage, a prominent Tunisian photography collective, and curated an exhibition showcasing their work at the Arab World Institute in Paris. She is currently working on international exhibitions, including the Euro-Mediterranean Biennial, Tangier 2013, “Cairo-Tunis” at the IMED Barcelona, and “Femmes je vous aime” in Paris 2013. Soussi is a recipient of the French award of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.
About the Artists
Héla Ammar was born in Tunisia in 1969 and lives and works in Sidi Bou Saïd. Her works have been presented at major international art festivals and galleries including Printemps des arts Fair Tunis 2012, Dream City Tunisia 2012 and 2010, Rencontres de Bamako 2011, Marrakech Art Fair 2010, ArtDubai 2008, Biennale de Barcelone 2007, ArtParis 2007, The Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, Salon International d’Art contemporain, Grenoble 2006, Montreux Art Gallery 2006, and Rencontres d’Art contemporain, Geneva 2005.
Amine Boussoffara was born in 1974 in Mahdia, Tunisia. He began working photographically while a member of the Club Photo de Maison des Jeunes de Madhia in 1986. He spent his youth travelling throughout Tunisian cities such as Seliana, Jendouba and Tunis, which led to his focus on Tunisian history, customs and architecture. At times figurative and abstract, Boussoffara’s photographs pay homage to the varied territories of Tunisia through the graphic and poetic potential of photography.
Wassim Ghozlani was born in 1986 in Tunisia, where he currently lives and works. A self-taught photographer, Ghozlani has participated in exhibitions in Tunisia and internationally, including the United States, Brazil, Mali, Slovania, Germany, France, Egypt, Morocco, and Spain. In 2012 he was nominated for the prestigious Foam Paul Huf Prize and received the Express Arab Fund for Arts and Culture Scholarship (AFAC) for his web documentary “Taht Esour.” In 2011, he received special mention for the ARTE/cutlog prize. In addition to his work as a photographer, Ghozlani coordinates the Shutter Party Project (www.shutterparty.com), the first Tunisian outlet of its kind dedicated to the promotion of photography.
Amine Landoulsi was born in Bardo, city of the Husainid kings, in 1976. Landoulsi is a self-taught artist who draws upon chance and experiences of the everyday, acknowledging what may be banal for some and extraordinary for others. In 2011, he became the Co-Founder and General Coordinator of the Photo Club of Tunis. Landoulsi has exhibited in Tunisia, France, Slovenia and Brazil. He is currently a photojournalist for the Andalou Agency and the Associated Press.
Zied Ben Romdhane was born 1981and holds a Masters Degree in International Commerce from the International School of Commerce in Tunisia. In 2007, Ben Romdhane received the Printemps des Arts Prize and dedicated himself to professional photography in 2008. In 2011, he was published in Rada, Révolution Tunisienne (Rada, The Tunisian Revolution) and Dégage (Disengage). In 2011 he was the Director of Photography for the films La poule de Sabaa (The Chicken from Sabaa) and Fallega.
Rim Temimi is an artist and activist working against political obscurantism through art and culture in Tunisia for over 15 years. She has curated exhibitions and events such as Tuniversality and contributed to the Tunisian photography group Dégage through photography and co-curation with curator Leila Souissi. Temimi maintains various Facebook pages focused on Tunisian art, culture and cinema, such as Le Monde du Cinéma Tunisien and has developed various websites and portals for cultural institutions in Tunisia, including TAG – TunisiArtGalleries. Temimi is also an active member and curator with Dar El Dhekra or “The House of the Memory,” an association dedicated to Jewish-Tunisian cultural heritage.
Patricia Triki was born in Paris in 1964 to a Tunisian father and a French mother, and moved to Tunisia in 1993. In 2005, she was an artist-in-residence at the City of Arts in Paris. Solo exhibitions include Vortex 1 (2001), Vortex 2 (2005) and 3 + 6 works dialogues (2010). She participated in the Biennale d’Alexandrie (2003 - Egypt), Rencontres photographiques de Bamako (2005 - Mali), Femmes d’images (2007 - France, Italy, Lebanon, Great Britain), Reflets d’Afrique (2009, Algiers), and the Dream City Festival (2007/2010, Tunis). In 2011 her work "free art / / / free" was shown on billboards throughout Dresden for the project "Urban Mutations". She has participated in Leyla Tounssia at La Ferme du Buisson (2011, Paris) and Dégages, organized by the Institut du Monde Arabe (2012, Paris). In 2012 she was artist and co-curator of the project Zukunft Rosige - a pink Future presented at the ifa Gallery in Berlin and Stuttgart.In collaboration with Sondos Belhassen and Malek Sebai, she created three choreographic installations presented in Tunis and Paris at the Centre National de la Danse (2011). She is represented by Galérie El Marsa, La Marsa.