Pretext to muzzle artists and creativity (July 19th 2012) Pretext to muzzle artists and creativity (July 19th 2012)

Héla Ammar the 43 year old Tunisian photographic Artist a participant in the Printemps des Arts [Springtime Art Festival] has been interviewed by Yasmine Ryan for Aljazeera in regard to the rise of conservative moral and violent religious censorship of her home land’s artists and intellectuals. In the interview Ammar states “A misleading video montage showing a painting has been widely shared online, presenting artists as non-believers. It’s this diffusion of dishonest information and images which has provoked hatred and condemnation from a fringe of society. …The concept of national or sacred values is just a pretext to muzzle artists and creativity. These concepts can be interpreted in many different ways, especially the most restrictive, which will ultimately result in Tunisia having official art and dissident art. This is very serious and echoes dark periods in history… In reality, the artists have been used as scapegoats. This affair has been entirely manufactured to eclipse more serious issues. We are in the middle of a war between several political movements, with the Salafists and other reactionary movements which are pressuring the present government against moderation and appeasement. …What is happening is definitely very serious because the personal details of some artists have been published on extremist [Facebook] pages which have thousands of fans. They are calling for the murder of these artists. My friends are receiving endless phone calls and insulting messages and death threats. We are very worried because we don’t have any protection, and even the cultural ministry, which should be defending us, has abandoned us.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Twitter