Framing Creativity under Protest
By Valentina Marcella
On Friday the Summer Academy’s group had a chance to meet two Tunisian artivists in the framework of the Thematic Session “Framing Creativity under Protest”.
The goal of the panel was to reflect on the relationship between art and politics in contexts of political crisis and change like the protests that sparked in the MENA region and Turkey between 2011 and 2013. In particular, the focus was on “creative protesters”, as we defined them, that is to say those protesters who were not necessarily professional artists and who, nonetheless, recurred to various forms of art to express their political dissent.
We had the privilege to discuss these dynamics with two guests who took part in the Tunisian protests with creative initiatives.
Medusa is a rap singer who moved her first steps in the world of hip hop as a break dancer at a very young age; since 2008 she has been hitting the scene as a rapper and during the protests of 2011 she organized flash-mobs in the street of Tunis. Zied is one of the founding members of Ahl Alkahf, the first street art movement in Tunisia, born from a student collective of the Tunis Institute of Fine Arts, that became active precisely during the revolution with posters, stencil and photomontages.
The two guests shared their experience and perception of the revolution and its aftemath, disclosing the dynamics within which their work was realized, received by the public, and in some case contested by opposing political groups. They also discussed their status as artivists today. In fact, Medusa volunteers in NGOs where she teaches arts and music to street children, while Zied and the other founders of Ahl Alkahf, who currently live abroad, carry on their political-artistic agenda with increasing focus on the concepts of exile and displacement.