The ‘mal d’archives’ and Tunisian Women Revolutionary Art

A Lecture by Nevine El Nossery 

In the wake of major events that have shaken the Middle East and North Africa since the Arab Springs, politically engaged women artists have increasingly come to characterize a key new direction in art production, among other epistemic incentives. This presentation tackles, without oversimplifying the socio-cultural complexities that have shaped the Arab world for decades before its uprisings, some compelling questions on how do women artists address, engage with and negotiate specific political issues through art, and most importantly, how politicized forms of creativity is an act of ‘archiving defiance’. I will mainly focus on Tunisian polyvalent artist Héla Ammar who explores art as a receptacle for defiant counter-archive, questioning concepts such as authenticity, authority, and historicity, and opening up horizons for civic imaginations to emerge within a network of social relations that are not precluded by the diktats of politics or institutions.