One final dispatch from Tunisia, before I haul my bags over to Carthage International Airport and take my leave of the country. Last year I wrote a blog-entry about the graffiti that has proliferated on the walls of Tunis since the 2011 revolution, and I thought before departing I would take a walk with my camera and capture a few more specimens of Tunisian post-revolutionary street-art.
Firstly, here’s the Rasta Man, a figure familiar now to people in the Tunis suburb of Carthage when they stroll along the Rue Taieb Mihiri on their way to the seafront Neptune Restaurant. I’m not greatly impressed by the English-language spelling abilities of the artist, Morta, but I think I know what he (or she) means by ‘ligal it’.
Then there’s this fraught example of the form that appeared a while ago at the otherwise sedate northern end of Avenue Mohamed V, where the Italian Institute and the British Council have their offices. It gives the impression of tension and potential violence bubbling just beneath the surface – a disturbing metaphor for post-revolutionary Tunisian society, perhaps?
Meanwhile, here are two of the more colourful examples to be found in the back-streets behind my apartment building. All right, the second example isn’t really graffiti – it’s a piece of commercial art decorating the perimeter wall of a small kindergarten or nursery school. In addition to Spongebob Squarepants (who was once accused of promoting homosexuality by America’s Fox News network), there are representations of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. So I suppose by showing this picture on the Internet, I am inviting the Disney Corporation to go around and sue the arses off the kindergarten’s owners.
Here’s some good, old-fashioned, anarcho-political graffiti-ing on a wall near the downtown premises of Monoprix. And unlike Morta, the creator of the Rasta Man, this artist got his or her English spelling right.
However, the most extensive piece of graffiti to have materialised in Tunis recently is to be found along a wall by the Trans-African Highway, at the end of the flyover crossing Avenue Habib Bourguiba. A project called Beyond Walls 2013 that’s the work of the Union des Artistes Plasticiens Tunisiens, it consists of a long line of panels bearing a variety of single-word slogans, in a variety of languages and using a variety of designs.
Here are a few of the English-language buzzwords on show. With the current political, economic and security situations looking extremely uncertain in Tunisia – and with a nightmare unfolding at the eastern end of the North African coast as post-revolutionary Egypt descends into the pan – I think these abstract nouns, imbued with optimism and idealism, make a fitting way for me to end my final entry from Tunisia.