Many things changed after spring 2011. Today, Tunisian society seems to culminate in a hunt for identity. The international exhibition Chkoun Ahna. On the Track of History will slow down this endeavour and offer an unhurried view on the current state of emergency.
The expression “chkoun ahna” comes from the Tunisian dialect written in Roman letters. It has two meanings; “about us” and “who are we?”, it can be phrased as a statement or a question. All efforts to purify Tunisian heritage and sort out a homogeneous cultural identity are doomed to fail. Tunisian history was and still is a cross-cultural joint venture. There were Caspian and Berber civilizations, Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Otto-man and the French. Discussion of Tunisian culture implies all these hybrid influences.
For this reason, the exhibition will raise the question as a statement powered by the media of contemporary art, such as installations, video and photo works, drawings, performances and interventions. Similar to the country’s cross-cultural history, the invited artists hail from countries that have left historical traces in Carthage, in the more or less chronological order of Algeria, Lebanon, Italy, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Spain, Turkey, and France.
Chkoun Ahna. On the Track of History will show recent and new artworks from Amina Menia, Kader Attia, Ziad Antar, Taysir Batniji, Lara Favaretto, Yousef Moscatello, Nicène Kossentini, Timo Nasseri, Ahmed Mater, Mustapha Akrim, Hala Elkoussy, Nida Sinnokrot, Pauline M’barek, Fakhri El Ghezal, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Ayşe Erkmen, Ahmet Öğüt, Ismail Bahri, Félix Fernández, Zineb Sedira, Mouna Karray, Sirine Fattouh, Ali Tnani.
- Ahmed Mater, Magnetism (Photograuve), 2011. Courtesy of the artist and Edge of Arabia.
- Pauline M'barek, Trophäenhalter, 2011. Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Rehbein Gallery, Cologne.
- Timo Nasseri, Everything Is Everything IIb, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg and Galerie Schleicher Lange, Paris.