Tunisia

Imed Jemaiel

Tunisian native Imed Jemaiel turned his attention to artistic studies after two years of attending medical school. In 1990 he earned a degree in Fine Arts, specializing in printmaking. Since 1992 he has taught at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Tunis. He is an art critic and has participated in group exhibitions in Tunis, including the Spring of the Arts, the annual exhibition of the Union of Tunisian Plastic Artists, and internationally in Tokyo and Marseille. In In 2014, his first solo exhibition “Les Dessous des Ratures” (Beneath the Crossings Out) at the Amar Farhat Gallery was deemed a great success. Fellow artist Nadia Jelassi has described Jemaiel as a devourer of texts and gourmet of the written word. In his “Les Dessous des Features” series, this fascination with language is expressed through mesmerizing and intricate combinations of ancient symbols, intriguing shapes, colors, and codes that evoke a unique form of communication, inviting the spectator to muse on what is being said and what still remains a mystery.

Ymen Berhouma

Born in Tunisia in 1976, self-taught artist Ymen Berhouma lives and works between Paris and Tunis. Her debut in the art world began through her vibrant painting whose characters invited spectators into a dream-like world.  She essentially uses acrylic while experimenting with the effects of collage and décollage with mixed media. Berhouma has been exhibiting since 2006 and has participated in many group exhibitions in Paris and Tunis, in particular the Spring of the Arts. She has had a number of solo exhibitions at the El Teatro Space in Tunis, the Mille Feuilles Gallery in La Marsa, and the Ammar Farhat Gallery in Sidi Bou Said. A number of her works are part of the collection of the Tunisian Ministry of Culture.

Ekram Tira

Ekram Tira was born in Tunisia in 1982 and holds a degree in Fine Arts, with a specialization in engraving, and a master’s degree in Sciences and Techniques of the Arts from the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Tunis. She has been teaching art since 2007. Through her work Tira demonstrates an interest in popular images and muses about the so-called consumer society. Using images cut from brochures and catalogs, she imagines new compositions, in what can be termed anagrams of images, which result in new, hybrid forms that conjure an alternative world. Tira has participated twice in The Spring of the Arts exhibition and has exhibited at the Mille Feuilles Gallery in La Marsa.

Adnene Hadi Sassi

Born in Sfax in 1961, artist Adnene Hadi Sassi is a painter and holds a degree in Sciences and Techniques of the Arts. Curiosity and doubt are at the origin of his artistic practice and his goal is to diversify the manner in which he approaches the same subject. The line forms the main axis of his research, and through employing diverse techniques he seeks to imbue it with the maximum expression. These techniques range from simple gestures, such as a trace, to approaches such as rubbing, engraving, concealment, and more, using varying formats and sizes. He has been teaching art for decades, and since 1996 at the Tunis Institute of Fine Arts specifically. His work as an artist is closely linked to that of his role as a teacher, with the atelier and the classroom both representing a form of the laboratory of powerful and infinite possibilities. In 2004 he was awarded the first prize by the Ministry of Culture. Between 1994 and 2011 he was a regular participant in the annual exhibition of the Union of Tunisian Plastic Artists and has also exhibited widely in group and solo shows, including in 2004 at the Centre des Arts Vivants in Rades.

Thameur Mejri

Born in 1982 in Tunis, multi-disciplinary artist Thameur Mejri trained as a painter at the Institute of Fine Arts in Tunis and now lives and works in Nabeul, Tunisia. He currently teaches at the Higher Institute of the Arts & Crafts in Kairouan while completing a Ph.D. in Sciences and Technology of Arts and continuing to exhibit in Tunisia and internationally. His recent solo exhibitions include “Male (God) scarecrow” (2010) at Artyshow gallery in La Marsa, “Disaster pieces” (2012) at Elmarsa Gallery in Tunis, and “Before You Split the Ground” (2017) at Jack Bell Gallery in London. Produced in collaboration with his brother film director Kays Mejri, his video piece ”The Plague” won the prize for the best experimental short film in 2007 at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (NYIIFVF). His paintings and films have been featured in several group shows, international art fairs, and film festivals in the UAE, Syria, France, Italy, the UK, Morocco, Canada, and the United States. His works are part of several collections, including Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah and Sindika Dokolo Collection, Luanda, and private collections in Paris, London, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, New York and Johannesburg.

Omar Bey

Born in 1973 in Tunis, Omar Bey lives and works in Le Kram. His works include painting, collage, and mixed media assemblage of found objects. He has developed an innovative command of materials that enable him to evoke surprise, humor, and contemplation in viewers. Bey’s themes revolve around the paradoxical excess of human existence. Each work explores an absurdity that is echoed in its construction with materials that seem to contradict one another. His work is akin to “art brut” and is characterized by his juxtaposition of solid heavy objects with light airy materials. Bey’s latest works reflect a more direct and personal engagement with the tensions of his own experiences in Tunisia, but that are also transmutable to broader contexts. Omar Bey graduated from L’Institut Supérieur des Beaux-arts in Tunis in 1998 and completed a residency at Cité Internationale des Arts during 2011-2012. His work has been featured at a number of solo and group exhibitions, and international art fairs, in his native Tunisia and beyond, in Paris, Barcelona, London, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.

Feryel Lakhdar

Born in 1965 in Tunis, Feryel Lakhdar studied in Paris at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture and at the École des Beaux-arts. She stayed in France to study urban design and furniture design while taking part in the production of film set decorations. From here, she became involved in the restoration of public spaces like at Château Chinon in France. Lakhdar’s art can be associated with neo-figurative painting as it is based on the representation of contemporary women in society, specifically Tunisian women. Lakhdar has been exhibiting extensively since her first solo show in 1986 at the Museum of Sidi Bou Saïd, Tunisia. Her work has been showcased in various group and solo exhibitions worldwide, including in Tunisia, France, Italy, Portugal, Lebanon, and the UAE. She also participated in the World Exhibition – Seville Expo ’92 in Spain and Hanover 2000 in Germany. Solo shows in galleries worldwide including at Galerie El Hawajez in Cairo, Egypt in 1998, Esthète in Montreal, Canada, in 2005, and Galerie M in Paris, France, in 2004 and 2006. Her works can be found in various public and corporate collections including the Ministry of Culture in Tunisia. She currently lives and works in Tunis.

Khaled Ben Slimane

Born in 1951 in Nabeul, Khaled Ben Slimane lives and works in Tunis. His multi-disciplinary practice includes paintings on paper, canvas, and wood, as well as ceramic and bronze sculptures. A synthesis of East and West, his work invokes Sufism through the graphic repetition of words and phrases in a distinctive style, which is partly inspired by the masters he once met or worked with, such as Joan Miro and Antoni Tapies. Ben Slimane graduated from the Escola Massana of Barcelona in 1977 and the Technological Institute of Art in Tunis in 1982. His art has been exhibited alongside works by maestros such as Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Gardy Artigas. Solo exhibitions have been held across the world, including in the UAE, KSA, USA, Germany, Spain, UK, Bulgaria, Japan, and his native Tunisia. His works are part of various private and public collections, including the British Museum, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the Idemitsu Museum of Arts in Tokyo, the Benaki Museum in Athens, the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman, the Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe and the Museu de Ceramica de Barcelona. In 1990 he was elected a member of the International Academy of Ceramics, Geneva, Switzerland.

Slimen Elkamel

Born in 1983 in Sidi Bouzid, Slimen Elkamel is a young visual artist and an extensively published art critic for newspapers, publications, and art catalogs. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions across his native Tunisia, including the Spring of the Arts in 2009 and in the UAE. In 2011 he held a solo exhibition at Artyshow gallery in El Marsa. Elkamel was an art resident at the Living Arts Center at Rades in 2010 and paid multiple artistic and research visits to Paris, Algeria, and Bahrain. He has also been involved in the theatre in scenography and creative direction. Elkamel has spoken of the spontaneous way in which the Tunisian revolution, in which he was an active participant, has infiltrated his work, which, he says, questions social constraints and the absurdity of violence. He has a master’s degree in Visual Arts, specializing in Painting and Techniques of Science and Art. In 2010 he began his Ph.D. thesis at the Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts of Tunis. He currently teaches at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Sousse.

Nadia Jelassi

Nadia Jelassi, born in Tunisia in 1958. Jelassi presented her first works in 1990 at the Biennial of Young Creators from Europe and the Mediterranean at the Museum of Vielle Charité in Marseille, and later in 1992 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Gibellina, Italy and the Metropolitan Museum in Tokyo.