Tunisian Art Riots and the Play of the Serious

Africa is a Country (Old Site)

The long running art show, Printemps des Arts, held in La Marsa, a wealthier suburb of Tunisia, was the site of riots and attacks against art that incited the religious rancor among Salafi fundamentalists. On June 10, the last day of the exhibition, fundamentalists were incited to wreak havoc on the art when a government official (referred to as a bailiff) visited the exhibition, took photos and brought them back to show to a mosque populated by Salafist zealots. Calls for attacks against artists, and photos of the offending images on exhibition were circulated through the use of social media. In this case Facebook was the launch pad for a compilation video of images and text, as well as for a recorded statement from Cheikh Houcine Laabidi, an imam at the Zitouna mosque, denouncing the artists involved. Groups of agitators went back later that night, and the next…

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