The Arab Spring: Creativity in the midst of Revolutions. John Owoo | AfricanColours.com
The Arab Spring that chased Tunisian dictator Ben Ali and his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak out of office no doubt spearheaded a myriad of creative activity in both countries.
Interestingly, a number of artistes have sprung out of the “spring” and have successfully caught the attention of curators and critics alike - with works that evoke and provoke - as they tell the story of revolutions that took the whole world by surprise.
Currently on show at the Modibo Keita Memorial in Bamako as part of “Rencontres de Bamako” 2011, are photographs and videos from Tunisian and Egyptian artistes and that have been put together by Faten Gaddes, Khaled Hafez and Nermine Hammam, which capture and sustain the attention of viewers.
The images, some of which are powerful with striking visual strength, reveal scenes of carnage, protestors with clenched fists, cartoons of Ben Ali pleading with some leaders for a place to go into exile.
Others are photos of soldiers with amoured tanks embellished with flowery backgrounds and portraits that depict professionalism exhibited by Egyptian soldiers during the protests and subsequent clashes with security forces.
Undeniably, these largely successful revolutions have unearthed awesome talent from the two countries who have been suppressed for ages. With a deep sense of determination to tell the story, they embroil themselves and in the process exhibit a palpable personal connection to the events that unfolded before their eyes.
Curator, Michket Krifa takes the viewer on a journey and ensures that it becomes an experience – indeed, a pictorial one that enables the viewer to seamlessly become part of these historical events that sent dictators, wherever they may be cowering for cover.
With the Libyan crisis over and other uprisings still raging in the Arab world and elsewhere, the skills of Krifa, a Tunisian visual arts curator, may once again be tapped in the near future.
Directed by Tunisian visual arts curator Michket Krifa and Italian audiovisual curator Laura Serani, Rencontres de Bamako 2011 was organised by the Malian Ministry of Culture in collaboration with Institut Français.
It was supported by the European Union, Priority Mutual Aid Fund, French Embassy in Mali, International La Francophonie, Casa Africa, Blachère, Agha Khan, Orange Mali, Hans Polack and Prince Claus Foundations among others.