Using Arts as a Powerful Tool for Resistance
Public spaces are shrinking for women’s rights activists and others to thrive; legal, participatory and policy spaces continue to shrink as each day dawns for civil societies and organisations. Activists continuously receive threats that impede their mobility, with some being verbally and physically assaulted.
There has been growing exclusion of women from public spaces in Tunisia and women are rarely allowed to express themselves even when access to public spaces is granted.
Khouloud Mahdhaoui a journalist, camerawoman and audio-visual activist based between Tunis and Berlin and also a founding member of the Tunisian feminist organisation Chouf Minorities, which created space for free expression and creative space for women to engage and thrive both at public and private level. Through this space there was a creation of an open platform to all cultures that would create a positive visibility for women. The group created the Tunis International Feminist Art Festival “Chouftouhonna” which loosely translated means “I saw them”. This festival provided women free space for creation and expression. Without censorship, each self-identified woman is allowed to submit their works. The festival was a platform for exchange and sharing. By creating the only feminist festival within North Africa they have reopened the public space for women, through art as a major means of expression.