Events Calendar
Nov 30
17:00 - 18:30
Art, Resistance and the Tunisian Revolution: Aesthetics of Contingency
Centre for Modern European Literature Seminar
Dr Siobhán Shilton (University of Bristol)

Abstract: A striking range of artwork has emerged in response to the Tunisian Revolution of 2011. This artwork crosses diverse media from sculpture, installation, performance and graffiti to drawing, painting, photography and video. Certain artwork or visual culture re-appropriates icons of revolution, such as portraits of Che Guevara or Delacroix's painting, Liberty Leading the People (1830). Crucially, though, many seek to avoid such iconic language. Employing the iconic language that is associated with the French Revolution could provide support for neo-colonial identifications of Tunisia in 2011 with France in 1789. An iconic language of this type was also used to encapsulate the national myths of 'revolution' perpetuated by the government of Ben Ali. This paper asks how art exceeds what photographer Jellel Gasteli has called '[des] icônes de l'exotisme révolutionnaire'. It focuses on work that produces 'contingent encounters' – between stable and unstable forms, parameters and processes, or artists and participants – as a means of avoiding simplistic narratives of revolution and posing questions as to the future of Tunisia. 


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Last Updated: 10/01/2012