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Tunisian art festival celebrates painter Paul Klee | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Paintings by Paul Klee inspired by his visit to Tunisia in 1914.

Paintings by Paul Klee inspired by his visit to Tunisia in 1914.

Tunis, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Mahares International Fine Arts Festival in Tunisia will this year pay homage to world-famous painter Paul Klee. Now in its 27th year, the festival opened its doors to art lovers on Sunday, August 10 in the small coastal town of Mahares.

The festival’s events are attended by participants from across the Middle East, as well as those from Europe, including Romania, France, and Monaco, and will promote a number of creative fields such as pottery, carving, and drawing.

One of the festival’s organizers, Ismail Habah, said in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat that the festival opted to use an open platform style this year. He added that this interactive model welcomes all ideas and experiences, unlike the more traditional seminars usually held by experts. In doing so the festival is seeking to appeal beyond the narrow circle of specialized elites to reach a wider audience in Tunisia.

Habah said that a number of experienced artists will be supervising the forums. They include Iraqi painter Ali Rashid, Bahraini artist Mohammed Al-Mahdi, French painter Emmanuel Petit, the Romanian Maria Palaia, and four Tunisian artists Mo’az Saftah, Khaled Obaida, Khalil Qowaia and Rauf Al-Karai, who were all selected to supervise events. During the festival, Syrian artist Sohail Badour, the Algerian Mohamed Bukersh and the Tunisian Mohamed Marzouq will all be honored.

Habah said the timing of the festival coincides with the 100th anniversary of Swiss–German artist Paul Klee’s journey to Tunisia where he visited the cities of Hammamet and Kairouan. The places and the lighting he encountered in Tunisia heavily influenced his work as well as entire movements in European art.

The colors and shapes Klee painted in Tunisia are considered different from those that he produced in Europe, especially the domes, doors, and the decorations of the old city’s windows, especially in the city of Kairouan, the former capital of the Aghlabid dynasty.