The Same Moon Above Us. A Tunisian Tale
Friday 11 June - Saturday 12 June 2021
Join us for the launch of The Same Moon Above Us. A Tunisian Tale, a photography book gathering the work of eight artists from Tunisia and the diaspora: Jawher Ouni, Sana Badri, Salem Jabou, Oumayma B. Tanfous, Kaïs Dhifi, Safouane Ben Slama, Souheila Ghorbel, and Nyzar Trabxlsi. They all work with photography, but their regular practices span different approches (from fashion show backstage pictures to portrait or outdoor photography), and can even include other media such as illustration.
When Tunisia was under French protectorate (1881-1956), photography was developing and made more accessible – and widely used by the French to stage their own perception of the colonies, strengthen orientalist stereotypes, and justify colonial expansion. The role fulfilled then by image, especially photography, is still playing out in touristic imagery today, the Tunisian economy being highly dependent on European tourism.
A decade ago, Tunisia became the birthplace of the Arabic Springs. The event was closely followed also in the West, mainly due to the circulatory ability of photography, social media acting as a catalyst.
This is why it felt relevant to think about Tunisia today – inside and outside of its geographical borders – through its contemporary photographic and image production. The Same Moon Above Us. A Tunisian Tale does not pretend to impose a unified vision of Tunisia, but suggests multiple visual entry points, aiming to consolidate a moment in Tunisian creativity and to help forge and launch new moments in the future.
On Saturday, Artist Sana Badri will host a Open Photo Studio workshop. Visitors will be invited to pose and shoot against a photo backdrop, in the spirit of the artist’s series featured in the book. Pictures will be available for collection the following week.
Please RSVP if you wish to attend the workshop on Saturday 12th June 2021 | 14:00 -15:30
Set Design: Leïla Arenou.
Music Theme: Kaïs Dhifi. It will be streamed on 4 July 2021 for Sublime on Rinse France.
Head Editing: Estelle Marois
Art Direction: Nyzar Trabxlsi
Editing Consultancy: Kalina Pulit
Translation: Sarra Cherif
Press Relations: Carlotta Dennis-Lovaglio
Born in 1990 in Tunis, Tunisia.
Sana Badri is a British-Tunisian artist. Raised and living in London, she is an educator first, teaching at a high school in Inner London. Sana borrows from social practices to explore the communities she is embedded in through photography. Her motivation to create images is primarily to build and maintain meaningful connections with her subjects, and foster a visual dialogue that speaks to those inside those communities.
She has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, as well as published by the V&A, Elephant, OOMK Zine and Huck Magazine.
Safouane Ben Slama
Born in 1987 in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.
A Paris-I Panthéon-Sorbonne graduate in philosophy and curatorial studies, Safouane is a French-Tunisian artist living and working in Paris. After a theoretical curriculum, he dived into image creation. His work addresses notions of the in-between, the threshold, and the limit. In the series he shot in the US, Palestine, Jordan, Cuba, North Africa as well as in the Paris suburbs, he explores spaces that interrogate the ideas of sidelines and territory, unveiling the marks and gestures of their occupiers, especially the young ones, as they come together.
His work has been shown at Paris’ Photo Month, at the Salon de Montrouge, at the Biennale internationale Design Saint-Étienne, and at La Boîte in Tunis - and featured in Vice, I-D as well as Dazed.
Oumayma B. Tanfous
Born in 1990 in Tunis, Tunisia.
Born between a desert of palm trees and the Mediterranean sea, Oumayma left her native country, Tunisia, for Canada at the age of ten.
In her new home, she pursued a degree in graphic design and photography, which allowed her to develop a unique style that navigates between documentary and fashion seamlessly. Oumayma leans in to narratives, working with her subjects to tell stories and reveal personality through image.Â
Alongside her work with leading titles and brands, Oumayma continues to build a portfolio of documentary images captured on journeys to Jamaica, Mexico and her birthplace Tunisia. The present series half-opens onto a more personal space, one that is observed from the threshold, with a gaze that asks for discretion.
Her work has recently been featured by Vogue Spain, Document Journal, Dazed… She is now based in Brooklyn, where she continues to find beauty in the ordinary.
Born in 1980 in Tunis, Tunisia.
Kaïs is a multidisciplinary artist. Throughout his numerous travels and while living abroad, he developed a particular interest in fantastic realism.
He transcends the visual language of his direct environment and generates an alternate narrative challenging time, space and inherent perceptions. Through the medium of photography, he captures the uniqueness of empty landscapes, once occupied by unknown beings who left behind puzzling artefacts.
Kais had his first personal exhibition, City of Poets, in September 2020 in Tunis, Tunisia. He displayed his work using a scaffolding structure installed once on a deserted site where multiple artworks were visible. An eponymous book was released through Local Groupe, an independent publishing house.
Born in 1992 in Tunis, Tunisia.
Souheila grew up with many varied career ambitions, graduated in civil engineering but eventually set foot in the arts and heritage sector by working for cultural organisations.
As a self-taught photographer with a vivid photography, Souheila examines her position with the world she exists in. This series is part of her early works: visual journals created through the prism of an aesthetics of time and everyday life. They aim at deconstructing and reconfiguring their own meanings and evocations, while letting the viewer unravel the clues.
In her work, Souheila explores a feeling of nostalgia and the longing to be, to do and see things as she used to. In other words, she seeks to capture a reality that no longer exists, but may have once existed, a curious feeling of melancholy - of an era, a person, a color or a smell - but one that is tinged with a fleeting sense of pleasure.
Born in 1991 in Tunis, Tunisia.
Paris-based Tunisian artist Salem has been active in the musical landscape of the Tunisian diaspora in several capacities, including DJ and producer. Complementing his sound universe, he uses photography as the main medium of his artistic vision. All pictures of the current series were shot in Tunisia, where chance is at the root of things; hence the imperfect shapes, the multiplicity of visions that succeed one another, none prevailing, and the ungraspable flow of ephemeral experiences.
Born in 1992 in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia.
Jawher’s photographs are an ode to memory and family. Contemplative and silent, his subjects look at a distance while we can almost hear the background. Jawher plays with unplanned compositions, suggestive of fictional horizons for the protagonists. Frozen in time, they are really what is left of all those years of memories long past, of layers of lived and shared experiences.
A graduate from Metz School of Fine Arts, France, Jawher presented work at the Mulhouse Photography Biennale, and was published in Vice Arabia, Les Inrocks and Mille World.
Born in 1989 in Tunis, Tunisia.
Nyzar is a multidisciplinary Tunisian artist based in Tunis. He works in graphic design, digital illustration, motion graphics, screen printing, and electronic music. He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the experimental streetwear brand, Fichier Caché.
Through his art, Nyzar coalesces colourful imagery with dark humor to elucidate the nuances of Maghrebi-Arab identity and culture. His charismatic depictions of Tunisian life and (counter)culture are apparent in his art direction for music videos, album cover artwork, and in his self-released series of illustrations.
His work has been shown in Tunis at Gallery Central, and featured in Vice Arabia, Scene Noise, and Zenith Magazine.
The evnet is supported by the Art Council England.