Mapping the Medina

Mapping the Medina was a project made through a series of workshops and activities held at Twiza, a cultural centre in Tunis at which I was artist in residence September 2014 - February 2015. I wanted to create an image that would function as a document of lived experience, and social realities within the Medina of Tunis, made with and by the people who live there. The Medina is the oldest part of the city and it's myriad of winding streets were a perfect place to get lost and discover the intricacies of this place, its history, and how it is being used now. I led a series of 'Mapping' workshops in which we created hand drawn personalised maps to 'de-navigate' the city, to create chance encounters with people and places. Participants made drawings of their journeys and discoveries, collected paper items we found, and asked people that we met in the streets to participate in making drawings of their houses and market stalls. Some people got really into it and also showed some amazing drawing skills. As part of the project, I erected some boards on the walls outside of Twiza with the words "Tell me a secret, What are your dreams?" written in Arabic, French and English. I left some pens, with the idea that passer's by would write messages on the boards and these messages would be integrated into the map. The boards attracted quite some attention with people writing messages which to the social and political dynamic of post revolution Tunisia, as well as more intimate and personal. "I wish that Amazigh language would be taught in schools", "I wish that my brothers would return home from Italy", "I dream of a prosperous Tunisia with human rights", "I want to be a bird"... Soon however, football graffiti took over together with messages against the police "Fuck the police", "ACAB" etc, and eventually the boards were pulled off the wall and set on fire.