Thursday, June 28, 2012

Islamist Invasion of Art Show In Tunisia Raises Fears Among Secular Intellectuals

Reuters yesterday reported from Tunisia on the impact of a June 10 incident in which Islamists broke into the Printemps des Arts fair being held at Abdeliya Palace in Tunis and destroyed a few pieces of artwork to protest art they deemed insulting to Islam. This was followed by days of Islamist riots that killed one person. Among the most controversial art on display was one depicting veiled women as punching bags and another showing veiled women in a pile of stones (commenting on stoning of adultresses). The piece causing the most anger was one that spelled out "Sobhan Allah" (Glory to God) in ants. Reuters comments that this is the latest incident to raise fears among secular intellectuals that the freedoms won in the Arab Spring revolution are being slowly contracted by the religious views of zealots.  Meriem Bouderbala, one of the curators at Printemps des Arts, said: 
After the revolution, artists had a feeling of freedom. They wanted to express freely. They produced very powerful art. The artists were not expecting this reaction. That is why they feel so fragile. They turned to the government but it is not supporting them so they feel they have hit a wall.