Highlights of 2021: Nawaat Festival #1 [Video]

A varied fare was on the menu for the first edition of Nawaat Festival, held on December 10-12 at our office in Tunis. Featuring the photo exhibition « Black Label » by Malek Khemiri, film screenings («The Oasis», «Kerkennapolis» and «Plasticratie»), a debate on « The 25 July Regime: Rupture or Continuity? » plus a concert by Vipa and VR Corner, the first edition of Nawaat festival kicked off what promises to be a landmark event on Tunisia’s cultural scene.


This project is a partof Innawaation : « Gloub Faydha », a rap song created within the Bab El Beat project, is a cry of revolt against the established political class and a call for resistance against police repression. The clip alternates between the fictional universe reflected in the song’s lyrics and Nawaat’s video coverage of protests. In form, these videos match the music’s accelerated tempo and hard core percussions. In substance, they illustrate the song’s theme and lyrics.

Nawaat Festival – Aftermovie

To celebrate its 17th anniversary, Nawaat has launched its own festival. Held from April 2-4 at its premises in the Belvédère district in Tunis, the event drew hundreds of visitors. Screenings of the documentaries “Non grata” and “Generation Manich Msamah”, debates as well as an exhibition of -Z-, and a mini-concert by Badiaa Bouhrizi were on the program.

Rouhanyet Mystic Fest : « Is this what you call peace and love? »

Rouhanyet Mystic Fest is celebrating Season of Peace, its third edition which takes place from September 5-9 in Tunis’ postcardesque Sidi Bou Saïd. Organized by actor Hichem Rostom and wife Sana Ezzine, the event claims to be a « spiritual gathering based on mystic arts, sufism, sacred musics and all expressions of spirituality », offering festival-goers a smattering of yoga sessions, crystal healing and nightly musical concerts with the likes of Yuma and Labess. But amidst festival slogans of « peace, love, tolerance and fraternity », several artists from the previous edition are calling, quite simply, to be paid for their work.

Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def meets the Tunisian hip hop scene

It’s mathematics. In T-minus 10 days, Yasiin Bey, the artist formerly known as Mos Def, will be at Carpe Diem in La Marsa for Tunis Block Party (TBP) on May 10. Like the first two editions organized by collectives FRD, Upper Underground and Debo, the event will gather la crème de la crème of Tunisian DJs, Bboys, rappers and graffers. After an impressive turnout for block parties 1 and 2, a performance by the « Bey of Brooklyn » is sure to draw an even larger crowd for the event’s third edition. But TBP is not just a show for hip hop aficionados: with as much emphasis on street as stage, the party promises equal parts entertainment plus much-needed, healthy competition for participating artists.

Nour Harkati: On his journey, music and new album « Helwess »

Nour Harkati has spent the greater part of the past six years overseas, in Paris, Berlin and most recently New York. He wears the freshness of someone who has been away for a long time and is happy to be home. The singer-song writer has returned to Tunis for Jazz at Carthage, where he will perform with the band Aytma on April 15. During his sojourn in the capital, Harkati talks to Nawaat about life, travels and the musical adventure which has enabled him to try out different sounds and styles along the way. His latest collaborative project is “Helwess”, a soulful and otherworldly alternative rock album.

The Barker at Bardo: an art exhibition with bigger bark than bite

March 18 marked three years since the attack at Tunisia’s Bardo National Museum. Among the centuries of history and art housed within the former palace of the Beys, the memory of the recent incident and its 23 victims still lingers. But today, the building is alive with school groups and visitors, locals and foreigners alike. From March 11 – April 12, 2018, Museum visitors will discover « The Barker at Bardo », a contemporary art exhibition by artist Faten Rouissi in partnership with the Agency for the Development of National Heritage and Cultural Promotion.

Interview with Habibi Funk in Tunis [Video]

On the closing evening of the Goethe Institut’s Geniale Dilletanten in Tunis (January 20-28), the expo’s downtown venue was packed for a DJ set by Habibi Funk. Berlin-based Jannis Stürtz, co-founder of Jakarta Records, began younger music project Habibi Funk which revives long-forgotten or little-known songs of the 70’s and 80’s from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Sudan and Lebanon. As he gets set up for the evening mix, the man behind Habibi Funk experience talks to Nawaat about the travel, research, elbow-rubbing and ethical considerations that feed the project.

In a town where « nothing has changed »: Documentary Film Festival of Redeyef

This year’s Documentary Film Festival of Redeyef (RFDR) takes place December 20-24, in the town whose name is almost synonymous with Tunisia’s phosphate industry and its deleterious effects on the surrounding populations and environment. Although the mining basin revolt of 2008 is considered a precursor to the Tunisian revolution in 2011, in 2017 residents affirm without hesitation that here in Redeyef, « nothing has changed ». Now in its fourth year, the RFDR, funded by the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, is pushing to establish a perennial film festival here, a so-called difficult terrain that is parched for sustainable cultural outlets.

When cartoonists meet students and prisoners to see Tunisia from “different angles”

Over the next year, Tunisian cartoonists will take turns drawing and debating with students and prisoners throughout the country. « Dessinons la paix et la démocratie » [Let’s draw peace and democracy], is a collaborative project of Cartooning for Peace, the Arab Institute for Human Rights (IADH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). A two-day training which took place September 6-7 at the IADH in Tunis marked a first exchange between after-school educators, prison staff and six cartoonists.

From graffiti to gallery: Stepping into the universe of Jawher Soudani

Moustached, tatoo-clad characters, toothy creatures with large heads and tiny wings, speech bubbles containing gangly Arabic script invade whatever empty space Jawher Soudani gets his hands on. Vacant walls and buildings in Sfax, Kef, Sousse, Hammamet, Beja, Djerba and Gabes—the artist’s birthplace—have provided an outdoor canvas for Soudani, more commonly known by passers-by as Va-Jo. This September marks a first: a solo exposition at Atelier Y in La Marsa, Tunis.

“Chouftouhonna”: feminist art festival takes over Tunisia’s National Theater

September 7-10, the International Feminist Art Festival of Tunis, Chouftouhonna, took place at the National Theater in the capital’s old neighborhood of Halfaouine. The former palace of Grand Vizier Khaznadar, rarely open to the public, was transformed for the event into a living museum: for four full days, every corner of the palace, its renovated theater, gallery rooms, courtyard, dim hallways and bright stairwells were occupied by art installations, performances, workshops and debates animated by women. Since the first edition in 2015, the festival has grown three-fold, drawing not only new participants, but artists and activists from near and far who affirm that they are in it for the long-run.