Fakhri El Ghezal

Fakhri El Ghezal is an independent Tunisian visual artist and filmmaker, whose practice includes silver-based photography, video, painting, drawing and calligraphy, or hybridizations between them. Between 2008 and 2021, he worked as a pyrographic painter under the pseudonym « Ibrahim Màtouss ». From 2016, he practiced calligraphy and tagging under the pseudonym [Weld Hlima].

In El Ghezal’s work, « it’s always about light, manifestation by light and in light », which emerges through devices of buried memory, of traces past and revealed.

His work has been shown at numerous festivals, fairs and international exhibitions, including the Rencontres africaines de la photographie in Bamako, Documenta Fifteen in Kassel, the New Museum in New York, the MUCEM in Marseille and the Centre d’art vivant in Tunis. He has also taken part in the Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia, the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland and the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in France.

Sonia Kallel

Born in 1973 in Tunis, Sonia Kallel is a visual artist and Assistant Professor at the National School of Architecture and Urbanism. After settling in France, she decided to return to Tunisia in 2005, where she divides her time between her artistic practice and teaching.

Since 2010, she has been interested in disappearing or endangered artisanal know-how. Her projects always begin with encounters and revolve around narratives, interviews, and inquiries into the consequences of heritage, and social and economic changes… Her works take various forms: installations in historically charged places, woven, deconstructed, and recomposed paths, imbued with testimonies, sounds, and videos, sometimes offering immersion in authentic or reconstructed environments.

Her works have been exhibited in France, Tunisia, and internationally.

SHOOF

Child of the Medina of Tunis, Hosni Hertelli – his real name – deconstructs the Arabic alphabet to question the place of language in our contemporary societies.

The movement is lively, repetitive, without hesitation and perfectly rhythmic.

The brush moves almost mechanically over the glass plates which overhang an amphitheatre in the centre of which rise, mysterious and magical at the same time, the voices of the six munshid (Muslim religious singers) of the Al Nabolsy ensemble. 

Using paint, which he dilutes with varying amounts of water, the Tunisian street artist draws fragments of dripping letters.

Drips which paradoxically give the impression that they flow towards the sky. The calligraphy of this self-taught artist is unorthodox.

Marie-josé Armando

At the same time of her studies of plastic arts at  Aix-en-Provence University she does a training course at  the School of Fine Arts of the same city.
She discovers the ceramic at the School of Plastics Arts ( EMAP) of Nice, where she also practises engraving.
She takes part, during two years, to the workshop of ceramic of the International School of Art (EPIAR) in the Villa Arson in Nice.
She collaborates to the Nice’s museums since 1980 : first the Museum of the Fine arts, then from its creation, to the Museum of Modern and contemporary Art (MAMAC), and finally to the Matisse Museum as vice-curator.
In availability since 2005, she shares her time and her work between South of France and Tunisia.
She created, in association with Jean-Claude Villain, the collection  » The Clay’s book »: artists’ books realized completely in clay, with contemporary famous poets of different languages (French, Arabic, Greek, Portuguese, etc.)

Emna Kahouaji

Emna is the daughter of Houcine Kahouaji (1959-2017) a leading Tunisian poet and playwright. She grew up surrounded by rhythms of verses and other prose of her father and the creative environment in their native city of Kairouan. An art career was a natural choice.

After obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at ISBAT (Tunis Institute of Fine Arts) in 2014,  Kahouaji also began a Masters in Traditional Heritage at the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences (FSHS).

Since completing graduating, she regularly participates in group exhibitions, particularly at the Aire libre Gallery at El Teatro (Variations des sens, Art Neuf, Le retour, Autour d’Antigone), Palais Kheireddine, Palais Abdelia as well as taking visual art workshops for children and collaborating on animated films, notably Briska by Nadia Rais, which won the jury prize at the 2017 Chouftouhouna Festival.

Her father’s poetry inspires her work; It is a visual conversation with words, thoughts, and symbols as a bridge between the two artistic disciplines. ​In 2019, she held her first solo exhibition « AZAL » (Eternity) at the Aire libre Gallery at El Teatro in Tunis.

She won the EPI (Emerging African Art Galleries Association) mentorship prize in 2020.

Mohamed Amine Hamouda

Mohamed Amine Hamouda joined the El Omrane Arts Pilot High School in Tunis to pursue his education, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a specialization in painting, followed by a master’s degree in aesthetics and techniques of arts from the Higher Institute of Arts and Crafts in Gabès (Tunisia), where he currently teaches.

The work of Mohamed Amine Hamouda explores and studies the botanical, maritime, and natural resources of Gabès to create platforms that document and interpret the threatening situation of biodiversity and the region’s ecosystem due to industrial intervention, aiming to provoke new possibilities and responses to social, environmental, and economic questions.

The exploration of the biodiversity of the southern coast, the examination of Gabès’ flora allowed Mohamed Amine Hamouda to create natural pigments, dyes, and paint colors illustrating his process of revelation, research, and development of artistic practice that studies and documents the nature and cultural heritage of the region. Using painting, collages, and installations and presenting the landscape unity in a new format, the experimenter continually explores the unique oasis ecosystem to create new mediums.

Ali Tnani

graduate of the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Tunis. Since then, he has frequently participated in international artistic residency programs.

« Trace, Space, Data » are some of the keywords that revolve around Ali Tnani’s artistic practice. This practice leads him to exploit different supports and formats such as photography, drawing, sound installation and documentary film.

He has participated in several solo and group exhibitions in Tunisia and abroad: « Ce vide, Voilà ma réponse » (2022), a solo exhibition at the B7L9 art station – Kamel Lazaar Foundation (KLF), Tunis; « The upshot of trans-affective solidarity », TAM Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles, USA, 2022 and Motorenhalle Centre for Contemporary Art, Dresden, Germany, 2021; « Climbing Through the Tide » (2019) at KLF B7L9 Art Station, Tunis; « A new Humanity » (2018), Dakar Biennale, Senegal; « Unknown program » (2018), a solo exhibition at Elmarsa Gallery, Dubai, UAE. « Architextures de Paysage 1 » (2017), Château d’Oiron, Oiron, France. « Données à voir » (2016), La Terrasse, Espace d’art de Nanterre, France. « If you are so smart, why ain’t you rich? » (2014), Marrakech Biennale, Morocco.

Taher Jaoui

Creating captivating and labor-intensive work with the idea of continuing the legacy of the abstract expressionism movement from the 50s and 60s, Taher Jaoui’s paintings are rich assemblages of layered forms, vibrant colors, and expressive gestures, and mathematics signs and formulas. Applied on canvas through a dynamic interaction, a physical back-and-forth dialogue in which perspective and orientation continuously change until all the elements are balanced right, these opulent creations are the artist’s personal way of expressing himself.
Through a series of spontaneous movements, directly inspired by the way canvas responds to layers of paint and
gestures applied to it, Jaoui compares his work to a dance routine with a familiar partner. While impulsive and unconstrained in its core, familiarity with materials is essential for the creative process which strongly depends on the ability to respond quickly and foresee the way the elements will work together.

Najah Zarbout

After studying at the Higher Institute of Arts and Crafts in Sfax, Najah Zarbout was accepted at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, where she earned a doctorate in Arts and Sciences of Art. She currently holds a position as an assistant professor at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Sousse.

Najah Zarbout is interested in subjects related to current events, the individual, and contemporary society. Her artistic creations explore the relationship with others in its various aspects. She offers a metaphor for human submission or disobedience and invites the viewer on an imaginary journey through the materiality of paper. Behind her seemingly playful works lie profound and daring subjects. Her artistic practice takes various forms, ranging from drawing to video, photography, and installation. In recent years, she has focused on a cutout approach. From embossing to folding or tearing, in various combinations of light, lines, and cuts, she engages in a dialogue with paper.

In 2018, Najah Zarbout represented Tunisia at the Dakar Biennale in Senegal. In addition to numerous solo and group exhibitions, her work has been featured in several fairs and salons in Tunisia, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Morocco, Kuwait, among others. She is the recipient of the Grand Prix in Plastic Arts at the « Ici et demain » festival in 2008 (France).

Ymen Berhouma

At the age of twenty, she spent around ten years in Europe (Germany, Spain, France) then moved back to Tunis and began studying fashion design. This is where she approaches drawing. Then began to paint and in 2005 exhibited a series on motherhood. Her work, closely linked to her life, questions the place of women-mothers within a stereotypical society that leaves little space for otherness.
The margin, solitude, and disintegration are his privileged themes treated with acrylic, and in rather large formats, they emanate the impression of a human abyss, a world from within to which one could not remain insensitive. Of great expressive force, his paintings grip you with the disintegration of forms and the melancholy that its characters embody.
Her references, different from one series to another, distinguish her from other artists. Sometimes she borrows from the register of classicism, sometimes from a less conventional style. That of an accumulation of scenes, a form of mental map printing the network of her thoughts.

Her current work puts the child at the center and questions the possibility of resuscitation following early life trauma, in an increasingly merciless world.
Her work is part of the collection of the Ministry of Culture in Tunisia and France (DRAC) and in several private collections.

Instagram : @atelierymen

Meriem Bouderbala

Meriem Bouderbala was trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Aix-en-Provence and the Chelsea School of Art in London. She lives and works between Paris and Tunis. It is in her dual French and Tunisian origin and her dual culture that she draws her creative inspiration. Both have prompted the gestures, revisions, and decisions that have led her works towards a « becoming minority, » as she claimed. A concept forged by Gilles Deleuze, it signifies not exclusion or marginalization but rather the inherent strength in the minority, or more precisely, the latent and underground power of transformation and disturbance in the voluntary movement towards a « becoming minority. »

Indeed, Meriem Bouderbala, whose sensitivity is marked by this weaving of cultural and emotional ties with the Mediterranean, has chosen to work in-between and to cast a lucid and critical gaze on these two shores that history has alternately brought together and separated.

She belongs to the active minority of artists from the Maghreb who contribute to shaping the evolving culture while acting as a kind of interface with the other shore of the Mediterranean. Through their works and their presence on the borderlines, they participate in the evolution of thought and the mutation of mentalities.

This spatial and temporal intertwining and these cultural interactions allow for a fascinating self-reflection of Meriem Bouderbala’s artistic experience, attempting to merge Eastern and Western sensibilities around the representation of the body and thus rediscover « that point where the human figure is both flesh and signs. »

Her work, is characterized by the creative balance between performance and still or animated images, including paintings, photos, videos, installations, and ceramics. She is also the curator of numerous exhibitions initiated in Tunisia.

She was the first to invest in the Medina of Tunis for greater proximity with those who never see art, with the « Rencontres d’art contemporain » in 2003, which would herald Dream City. Following this, there was a speculative reflection on Orientalism and the impact of the young generations of artists from the Arab world in « Images révélées. »

Her exhibition at Abdéllia was the most emblematic and politicized curatorial project, as it aimed to create a virtual Art Fair to express itself despite government censorship. It was both a failure and a success that pitted two worlds against each other in a surge of violence that even led to a curfew.

Her exhibitions are always catalysts for questions that are never directly posed. Her latest curatorial project continues her exploration of this « great reason » and attempts to rediscover that freedom where the representation of her individuality allows her to evoke the intimacy of the body while transgressing aesthetic norms and various conformities.

She declares, « I make of my body, of its altered, disrupted photographic exhibition, a stage, an ephemeral platform for a tragedy without origin and with no end. »

Mira Agdal

Mira Agdal (Anna Latreille Ladoux, Anna Blaszczyk) is an artist of Polish origin. A documentary film director who was studying at the same time Egyptian and Sudanese archeology at the University of Warsaw. As a film-maker she participated in many international festivals. For the moment she lives and works in Tunisia. Her paintings are regularly exhibited at the AGorgi gallery in Sidi Bou Said and meets a unanimous success, both with the press and professionals.

Douraïd Souissi

Douraïd Souissi discovered photography as an art form in the United States where he graduated with a bachelor’s in international finance and a master’s in philosophy. While slowly developing his compositional and technical skills, using mostly black and white film, he got interested in the works of Harry Callahan, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, which he admired not only for their rigor and simplicity but also for their effective use of the medium’s ability to observe the world more closely and offer radical new ways to reinterpret it.

Moving back to his native Tunisia, he quickly found himself solicited to shoot portraits and promotional assignments allowing him to further perfect his craft, especially the use of light in and outside of the studio, while meeting and collaborating with many of the country’s young artists, designers and other creative talents.

In the past few years, he set out to explore Tunisia’s less traveled and often forgotten regions producing series of images in Kef, Siliana, Kerkennah, Qayrawan and reflecting on the artistic value and potential of visual representation and the landscape tradition from Renaissance paintings to the New Topographics and beyond. Recently, he started working on a series of portraits that depict ordinary Tunisian men looking down with their backs turned to the camera while surrounded by an unusually large and empty dark space.

His work has been featured in numerous publications and exhibitions across Tunisia as well as other countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Qr’n, produced in 2015 and exhibited at the Tunis-based Galerie AGorgi and subsequently Talan, attests to his increasing openness and desire to explore and experiment with photography’s infinite possibilities, which extend far beyond its craft.

Yesmine Ben Khelil

In her work on paper, Yesmine Ben Kehlil reappropriates images she has found on the internet: old photographs, books, or archive documents and incorporates them into drawings done with felt tip pens, pencils, ink and paint. In « J’ai tenu parole » (2015), a series based on a propaganda document published by the Tunisian government in 1963, the artist establishes an ironic relationship between the past and present of her country. Using superposition, the drawings can be seen through the depth of the book’s pages. A poetic montage of the images of yesteryear with those of today enables the artist to raise the issue of the rewriting of history and the representation of reality in a world transformed by the constant ow of information.

Yesmine Ben Khelil received a degree in Plastic Arts and Sciences of Art from the Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. She participated in Réenchantements, the main exhibition of the 12th Dakar Biennale (2016), as well as in a collective exhibition at the Institut des Cultures d’Islam in Paris (2016).

Yesmine Ben Khelil’s work explores, develops, and captures a world of speculative beings mined from internet searches and stock imagery. So-called characters are then immortalized in ink, pencil, or pastel portraits, a process that serves to question the reality or truth of their derivative image. These drawings are often placed against or into old literary editions, challenging the schemata of the book.

Ben Khelil received a master’s degree in Plastic Arts and Sciences of Art from Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris. Solo exhibitions include History of Haunting, Escalier B, Bordeaux (2016) The Universe is Expanding, Selma Feriani Gallery, Tunis (2016). Works have been presented at Nanjing International Art Festival, Baijia Lake Museum, Nanjing (2016); Dak’Art – Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain, Dakar (2016) and Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris (2016).

Slimen El Kamel

Nurtured in the popular narrative, his childhood was molded by the imagination of the rural environment where the tradition of folk tales and poetry flourished. His studies at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Tunis allowed him to crystallize this literary and intellectual heritage into a singular artistic practice. A practice whose genesis opens through writing and draws its resources from its texts, sometimes poetic or literary, sometimes memorial or improvised. The daily writing exercise, while it delimits, extends the horizons of its physical universe.

Not far from free figuration, the artist questions the relationship between the real and the imaginary through the dramatization of the constellated image. Images of memory, of a reality taken from everyday media, intersect in a pictorial field where, on the surface of a picture, the rustling of dialogue begins without end, not for the narrative of a fact, but for a festival of narratives.

His more recent work considers the links between the human body and everyday consumable objects. El Kamel considers how virtual and lived reality hinge upon visual and auditory channels of communication.

El Kamel holds a Masters in painting from the Tunis Institute of Fine Arts. He has participated in exhibitions and art fairs in Africa and Europe. El Kamel was an art resident at the Living Arts Center at Rades for a year and paid multiple artistic and research visits to Paris, Algeria, and Bahrain. He was a finalist of the inaugural Sovereign MENA Art Prize in partnership with Start. This prize awards 30 of the most exciting mid-career artists across the MENA region with an exhibition in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. The exhibition took place in October 2016. The artist is also active as an art critic.

Nadia Jelassi

Nadia Jelassi is an artist and teacher at the Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts in Tunis, where she has supervised several fine arts projects. An Arts Science and Techniques graduate, she has directed the Research Unit: Modern Artistic Practices in Tunisia and the Doctoral School: Arts & Culture.

She is also the author of several works on utilitarian forms and modern and contemporary artistic practices in Tunisia.
She curated Gorgi pluriel, the fourth edition of Talan l’Expo, and Hirafen, the fifth edition of Talan L’expo.

Nadia Jelassi uses various mediums and explores different political expressions and facts through various mediums. It also asks some autobiographical elements as they intersect with political history in a general way.

Also participation to several collective exhibitions at A.Gorgi gallery, Kanvas art gallery, Hope Contemporary, Carthage Museum, Château de Servières (Marseille), Musée de la vieille charité (Marseille), Contemporary Art Museum of Gibellina, (Italy) …

Intissar Belaid

Intissar Belaid is a filmmaker and visual artist based in Tunisia. She explores different techniques in the fields of cinema and arts. Her work revolves around tackling concepts like perception and time, human and nonhuman history, as well as collective and individual memory, through an artistic approach that adopts divergent points of view.

Intissar investigates a variety of disciplines in order to question a generation in relation to its memory in a current socio-political context. Through this questioning, she traces what remains of an event, an era, a history. She has taken part in Art residencies in France and Denmark (Cité des Arts – Paris, Danish SVALHOM exchange program), and her works were showcased in film festivals and international art galleries. During the last few years, Intissar Belaid has supervised filmmaking workshops for children and teenagers addressing subjects as diverse as current: pollution, love in the days of the internet, global pandemic, etc.

Ibrahim Matouss

Ibrahim Màtouss is a pseudonym created from the plastic meanderings of Fakhri El Ghezal.
Since 2010, he has taken part in several group shows: Lokhrine/ Les autres and Sexy Art 3 at Galerie L’Air libre in Tunis, A dire d’elles at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Tunis, Printemps des Arts: Fair Tunis at Palais Abdellia in La Marsa, Politiques 1 and Politiques 2 at CNAV in Tunis and Galerie Talmart in Paris, Sans Transition, Slash, De-Génération and Circumambulation with Galerie A. Gorgi, where he presented his first solo show Hrigua in 2013, Burning Day in 2015 and Métamorphosis in 2016.
For Ibrahim Màtouss, the work is dialogue; painting is speech. His figures create a gap towards a piercing « reality ». « Faces of figures, figures of faces »; layers of glued paper, smoky glues, superimpositions of materials, tearing away of materials… The support and « the others » embrace, giving rise to a flesh-to-flesh encounter…
The action of the fire and the gouge hold the subjects in place in a kind of ambient, poignant malaise! Intimacy is narrated… The gap goes astray.

Héla Lamine

Hela Lamine, born in 1984, is a Tunisian multidisciplinary artist and a teacher at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Sousse. She lives and works in Tunis.

Since 2010, she has been developing a hybrid practice that centers around the human being and what they consume: food, social networks, politics, culture, tradition, identity, and more. She is interested in the representation of the body, its « aura, » and she questions the boundaries that separate its « unique » property from the « multiple, » the « matrix » from the « reproducible, » the « consumer » from the « consumed. » She seeks to create mechanisms that can generate confusion between what is visible and what can be concealed, playing with the delicate limits that separate these two territories, often with humor and derision.

Since 2019, in her studio-orchard in Mornag, she envisions models, ephemeral immersive installations, virtual reality worlds, all revolving around the theme of communication and connection with the non-human, specifically trees. In biomimicry, she explores alternative possibilities for human life on a planet disrupted by climate change while respecting all forms of life. To achieve this, she attempts to imagine, through drawing, the creation of hybrid objects, and experimental videos, the stages of a potential process of transformation or mutation.

Ultimately, she seeks to redefine her own place within this ecosystem. Ideally, she envisions a form of harmony that could naturally link her to this entirety.

Aïcha Snoussi

The artist’s work tackles issues of deep-rooted narratives, authority, and balances of power that shape history and social dynamics from a queer perspective. She embraces drawing as a practice of proliferation, therefore occupying visual space – merging with installations made of sculptures and meticulously collected, engraved and assembled objects and organic materials. In her practice, crayons take the shape of a blade dissecting paper and concepts. She uses fiction to question memory, ruins, vestiges of the erased, gender norms and resistance. She digs within her mediums through an archeological approach: pushing layers of an encyclopedia transformed into an anti-knowledge book or engraving bones in order to extract political content and singular languages.

Aïcha Snoussi graduated from the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Tunis and the University of  Sorbonne in Paris. She is the 2020 winner of the Sam Prize for Contemporary Art and the first prize of the Rambourg Foundation for the Underwater تحت الماء  project.  This archeological fiction is displayed and evolving through several current and upcoming exhibitions. The narrative embodied through the installations revolves around an ancient queer civilization that first emerged in Sépulture aux noyé.e.s (Mo.Co, 2021), and expanded through several solo shows: My loved ones أحبائي (Zinsou Foundation, 2021), Nous étions mille sous la table (Palais de Tokyo, 2022), Layla ليلة (La La Lande Gallery, 2022), Tout est chaos (Archeological site of Lattara, 2022). Her work has also been exhibited at the Abu Dhabi Art Fair, 1.54 Contemporary Art Fair in London, Cobra Museum in Amsterdam, Beirut Art Fair, Art Brussels, Akaa Art Fair, Cape Town Art Fair and has been shown in group shows as Habibi, les révolutions de l’amour (Arab World Institute, 2022), Les Portes du possible. Art & Science-fiction (Centre Pompidou Metz, 2022) and queer feminist art festivals and exhibitions as Ectomie Patriarcale II (Brussels, 2022) Sortir de l’hétérosexualité (Paris, 2019), Chouftouhonna International feminist art festival of Tunis (Halfaouine, 2018).

Aïcha Filali

After studying art at the University of Tunis, where she earned a doctorate in Arts and Techniques of the Arts, Aïcha Filali began by creating projects that linked handicrafts and design in the field of jewelry and traditional textiles, for which she won several awards for creativity in Tunisia and at UNESCO (1994).

She then turned to contemporary art, placing Tunisian and Arab society at the heart of her work. In her various projects, she uses a variety of materials and techniques such as ceramics, sculpture, photography, collage, embroidery, and installations. She draws all of her themes from the contemporary social world, from a critical and playful perspective, using either kitsch excess or purity.

She exhibits regularly in Tunisia and abroad (Dakar Biennale, Marrakech Artfair, Sotheby’s London, Fiac d’Alger, IMA Paris, IFA Berlin) and has over 15 solo exhibitions to her credit.

She has also published several books on some of her artistic experiences: Mémoire de terre 1995 – Fragments odorants, 2000 (prix du CREDIF de la création littéraire). Plaques et propos ; Tunis 2010. Ana/chroniques ; Sud Editions 2015. Captures ; contrastes éditions Tunis 2020. Mémoires en raccourcis ; contrastes éditions ; Tunis 2023.