Mehdi Ben Cheikh
We rarely associate Djerba to contemporary creation. But now it is a fact in a grim tourism atmosphere. Following the highly mediatized experience of the building in the XIIIth arrondissement in Paris, entrusted to street artists prior to its programed demolition, Mehdi Ben Cheikh led a different project. He brought together a group of major names in the discipline and gave them carte blanche –with the approval of the residents - in Erriadh, a town partly abandoned by the departure of its Jewish population. Bombed (pacifically) by Add Fuel, Arraiano, M. City or Roa, the abandoned buildings have gotten some color back in their cheeks, the streets that are still inhabited are covered with happy frescoes. Trees and fruits, historical characters such as Mahmoud Darwich and Samuel Beckett or people on the street like children, shop keepers, youngsters on scooters, fantastic and over-proportioned animals have grown like visions of a mirage. This series of works done in September 2014 by over 80 artists, obviously deserves to be continued.
Review published in the newsletter #392 - from 11 June 2015 to 17 June 2015