After Islamist Riots Triggered by Contemporary Art Fair, Tensions Remain High in Tunis

 

By Gareth Harris | The Art Newspaper

Artists in Tunis still feel under threat following protests by hundreds of hard-line Salafi Islamists last month against a number of works shown at the Printemps des Arts contemporary art fair. According to state media, the Islamist demonstrators damaged four works on show in the fair held early last month in the Abdeliya Palace in the northern La Marsa suburb of the capital. The troubles began when a notary distributed images of works at the fair, including a piece which spelt out the words “Sobhan Allah” using insects.

Héla Ammar, a photographer who participated in the fair, says: “We still do not feel safe. Some artists are afraid to return their neighbourhoods for fear of being attacked.

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