Art and the 'Arab Spring': Aesthetics of Revolution in Contemporary Tunisia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A striking proliferation of artwork has emerged in response to the Tunisian Revolution, following decades of censorship under the former president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, who was forced to flee the country on 14 January 2011. Certain visual representations of the Tunisian Revolution employ the iconic language that has been utilised in revolutions in diverse historical and geographical contexts. However, many seek to avoid what the photographer Jellel Gasteli has dubbed ‘[des] icônes de l’exotisme révolutionnaire’. Drawing on postcolonial theory, this article argues that a still emerging corpus of artwork reveals an alternative ‘aesthetic of resistance’ with which to communicate the complexity and diversity of Tunisia. Such artwork forges a third way between totalising internal and external visions of the country. It presents a nuanced engagement with the Revolution, allowing – in distinctively visual or multisensorial ways – for ‘untranslatable’ voices or ‘unrepresentable’ visions of democracy in a universal sense.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-45
JournalFrench Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

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