Culture Of Tunisia is mixed, having been shaped by external influences for a long time: Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, Italians, Spaniards and French – they have all left their mark on the country.
Painting in Tunisia
The emergence of contemporary Tunisian painting is closely linked to the School of Tunis, founded by a group of artists from Tunisia united by the desire to incorporate indigenous subjects and reject the influence of oriental colonial painting. It was founded in 1949 and brought together Muslims, Christians and Jews from France and Tunisia. Pierre Bouchard was its main initiator along with Yahya Turki, Abdelaziz Gurki, Moses Levy, Ammar Farhat and Jules Le Rouche. As a result, some members turned to sources of Arab-Muslim aesthetic art, such as miniature paintings of Islamic architecture. The expressionist paintings of Amara de Bach, Jalal bin Abdullah and Ali bin Salem gained recognition, while abstract art captured the imagination of painters such as Edgar Nakash, Nero Levi and Hedi Turki.
After independence in 1956, the art movement in Tunisia was driven by the dynamics of nation-building and artists serving the state. A Ministry of Culture was established, led by ministers like Habib Boularès, who saw art and education and power. Artists gained international recognition like Hatem El Mekki or Zoubeir Turki and influenced a generation of new young painters. Sadok Goumek drew inspiration from the wealth of nations, while Monsef Ben Amor embraced fantasy. In another development, Youssef Rekik revisited the technique of painting on glass and founded Nja Mahdaoui calligraphy with its mystical dimension.
There are currently fifty art galleries hosting exhibitions by Tunisian and international artists. These galleries include the Yahia Gallery in Tunis and the Essaadi Gallery in Carthage.
Literature in Tunisia
Literature in Tunisia has two forms: Arabic and French. Arabic literature dates back to the 7th century with the arrival of Arab civilisation in the region. It dates back to the 7th century with the arrival of Arab civilisation in the region. It is more important, both in volume and value, than French literature, which was introduced during the French protectorate from 1881.
Literary figures include Ali Duagi, who wrote more than 150 radio novels, 500 poems and folk songs and nearly 15 plays; the Arab novelist Khleif Bashir, whose dialogues written in a Tunisian dialect caused a scandal in the 1930s; Moncef Gachem; Mohamed Salah Ben Murad: Mohamed Salah Ben Murad and Mahmoud Messadi, among others.
In terms of poetry, Tunisian poetry typically opts for non-conformity and innovation with poets like Aboul-Qacem Echebbi.
As for literature in French, it is characterised by its critical approach. Contrary to the pessimism of Albert Memmi, who predicted that Tunisian literature was doomed to die young, many Tunisian writers are abroad, including Abdelwahab Meddeb, Bakri Tahar, Mustapha Tlili, Hele Beji or Mellah Fawzi. The themes of wandering, exile and heartbreak are central to their creative writing.
The national bibliography lists 1249 non-school books published in Tunisia in 2002, of which 885 titles were in Arabic. In 2006, this number had risen to 1,500 and in 2007 to 1,700. Almost a third of the books were published for children.
Music in Tunisia
At the beginning of the 20th century, musical activity was dominated by the liturgical repertoire associated with various religious brotherhoods and the secular repertoire consisting of instrumental pieces and songs in various Andalusian forms and styles of origin, essentially adopting features of the musical language. In 1930, the “Rachidia” was founded, which became very well-known thanks to artists from the Jewish community. The creation of a music school in 1934 help revive Arabic Andalusian music largely led to a social and cultural revival by the elite of the time, who were aware of the risks of losing the musical heritage and which they believed threatened the foundations of Tunisian national identity. It did not take long for an elite group of musicians, poets and scholars to come together. The creation of Radio Tunis in 1938 gave musicians a greater opportunity to disseminate their works.
Among the most important contemporary Tunisian artists are Saber Rebai, Dhafer Youssef, Belgacem Bouguenna, Sonia M’Barek and Latifa. Other notable musicians are Salah El Mahdi, Anouar Brahem and Lotfi Bouchnak.
Media & TV in Tunisia
For a long time, the TV media were under the rule of the establishment of the Tunisian Broadcasting Authority (ERTT) and its predecessor, Tunisian Radio and Television, founded in 1957. On 7 November 2006, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali announced the unbundling of the companies, which came into effect on 31 August 2007. Prior to this, RTCI controlled all public television stations (Tunis 1 and Tunis 2, replacing the disbanded Tunis 2), four national radio stations (Radio Télévision tunisienne Radio Culture, Radio Jeunesse and Radio RTCI), and five regional radio stations (Sfax, Monastir, Gafsa, Le Kef and Tataouine). Most of the programmes are in Arabic, but some are also in French. The growth of the private sector in radio and television has created numerous stations, including Radio Mosaique FM, Jawhara FM, Zaytuna FM, Hannibal TV, Ettounsiya TV and Nessma TV.
In 2007, there were approximately 245 newspapers and magazines (compared to 91 in 1987), 90% of which were owned by private institutions or independents. Tunisian political parties have the right to publish their own newspapers, but those of opposition parties have very limited circulations (such as Al Mawkif or Mouwatinoun). Before the recent democratic transition, freedom of the press was formally guaranteed in the constitution, but in practice almost all newspapers followed pro-government reporting. Critical approaches to the activities of the president, the government and the Constitutional Democratic Rally Party (then in power) were suppressed. Essentially, the media was dominated by the state authorities through Agence Tunis Afrique Presse. This has since changed, as media censorship by the authorities has largely been abolished and self-censorship has decreased significantly. Nevertheless, the future of press and media freedom is still unclear due to the current legal framework and social and political culture.
Sport in Tunisia
Football is the most popular sport in Tunisia. The Tunisian national football team, also known as “The Eagles of Carthage”, won the African Cup of Nations (ACN) held in Tunisia in 2004. They also represented Africa at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2005, held in Germany, but did not advance beyond the first round.
The first football league was the “Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1”. The main clubs were Espérance Sportive de Tunis, Étoile Sportive du Sahel, Club Africain, and Club Sportif Sfaxien.
The Tunisian national handball team has participated in several World Handball Championships, finishing fourth in 2005. The national league consists of about 12 teams and is dominated by ES.Sahel and Esperance S.Tunis. Tunisia’s most famous handball player is Wissem Humam. At the 2005 Tunis Handball Championship, Wissem Hmam was voted the tournament’s top scorer. The Tunisian national handball team won the Africa Cup eight times, making them the dominant team in the competition. The Tunisians won the 2010 Africa Cup in Egypt by beating the host country.
In recent years, the Tunisian national basketball team has become a top team in Africa. The team won the Afrobasket in 2011 and hosted Africa’s most important basketball event in 1965, 1987 and 2015.
In boxing, Victor Perez (“Young”) was world champion in the flyweight weight class in 1931 and 1932.
At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Tunisian Oussama Mellouli won a gold medal in the 1500m freestyle. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, he won a bronze medal in the 1500 m freestyle and a gold medal in the 15 km marathon.
In 2012, Tunisia participated in the Summer Paralympic Games for the seventh time in its history. It finished with 19 medals; 9 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze. Tunisia ranked 14th in the Paralympic medal table and 5th in athletics.
Tunisia was suspended from the Davis Cup for 2014 because the Tunisian Tennis Federation found that Malek Jaziri was not allowed to play against an Israeli tennis player, Amir Weintraub. Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the ITF, said: “In sport and in society, there is no prejudice of any kind to speak of. The The ITF Executive Committee decided to deliver a very clear message to the Tunisian Tennis Federation that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated.