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February 2, 2004



Matt Lindsay: (202) 994-1423;


(202) 994-1525








?Tunisian Paintings,? an exhibit of 19 works of art on loan from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Leisure of the Republic of Tunisia, is on view at The George Washington University?s Luther W. Brady Art Gallery. The exhibition is supported by the Milton and Miriam Handler Foundation.




Exhibition Dates: Through Friday, February 20, 2004

Gallery Hours: Tuesday ? Friday, 10 a.m. ? 5 p.m.




The George Washington University

Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, Media and Public Affairs Building ? 2nd floor

805 21st Street NW, Washington, D.C.

(Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro, Blue and Orange lines)




Free and open to the public.




This is a unique opportunity to see famous Tunisian artists in an unprecedented exhibition representing the masterful works of Jellal Ben Abdallah, Ali Bellagha, Maurice Bismouth, Pierre Boucherle, Brahim Dhahak, Abdelaziz Gorgi, Jules Lellouche, Victor Sarfati and Gouider Triki.


A celebration of Tunisia?s traditions of tolerance and openness as depicted through a century of Tunisian art, the exhibition introduces Washington area audiences to the ?Pioneers? and the next generation of painters born in the 1920s and 1930s who worked together under the established trends in Tunisan painting, L?Ecole de Tunis. They paved the way for the emergence of new waves of artists.  Dr. Abdelbaki Hermassi, Minister of Culture, Youth and Leisure of the Republic of Tunisia, visited Washington, D.C., and was introduced by GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg in the company of Ambassador and Mrs. Hatem Atallah, at the opening ceremony of the exhibition.  Hermassi remarked on the camaraderie shared by artists of different cultural backgrounds in Tunisia, and how the paintings illustrate that shared yet diverse heritage.


The Tunisian propensity for hosting a diversity of civilizations drew to its shores a number of artists who came from afar to seek in Tunisia their ?muse? ? Gustave Flaubert?s Salammbo; Paul Klee and August Macke?s trip to Tunisia in 1914 crystallized Klee?s sensitivity to shimmering color in desert light, leading to his transformation of color into abstraction. The island of Djerba, the mythical home of Ulysses? Lotus Eaters, encapsulates that mystical and romantic allure of North Africa, the ?Maghreb,? that was an inspiration to French Orientalist painters, and later, Matisse and Picasso.  


Jews have a long history throughout Tunisia; there are telling portraits of typical life in the Jewish community and at La Ghriba, Djerba, a synagogue whose site dates back more than 1,900 years. The exhibition is accompanied by informative text panels and a selection of several rare books from the I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection at GW?s Gelman Library. Tunisia?s heritage of Jewish book publication is evidenced in three books, two volumes published in Djerba dating to the early part of the 20th century, and a third book that is a record of Mordecai Manuel Noah?s lively description of travels in North Africa under sail. Noah served as U.S. consul to Tunisia from 1813-1816.


For more information, call the University Art Galleries at (202) 994-1525 or visit  

For more news about GW, visit the GW News Center at


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