"Patria Delenda Est", The Prelude of a Symphony
”Already the salt in the hands of the gravediggers. The dregs, no longer the aroma, of the sea, which is spread over the conquered city. Everyone forgets the first salt he tasted: now he tampers with this essence. The world – and even today we see many Carthage violated – feeds this flame in him to conquer, to kill. The docile sea is his accomplice. People come; they will be given their share of salt on the plowing of the wounds. Free at last, they lament over the ash. The salt forever mingled with the blood of the victims and with the wounded stones which were the work of man”
Edouard Glissant – Le Sel Noir
Édouard Glissant (1928 –2011) was a French writer, poet, philosopher, and literary critic from Martinique. He is widely recognised as one of the most influential figures in Caribbean thought and cultural commentary and Francophone literature.
From this poem, Edouard Glissant makes an inventory of all the tortured geographies from the antiquity to the present day, taking Carthage as an anchor point - Carthage which was once an empire reigning over the world and of which only remains a name.
By taking this poem as a reference, "Patria Delenda Est" aims to be a global vision around the destruction and destructuring of homelands; a form of imaginary bridge between the past and the present through history in bis repetita.
Through artists with different contemporary practices, namely Larissa Sansour, Ali Cherri, M'barek Bouhchichi, Pascal Hachem, Thameur Mejri, Malek Gnaoui, Zineb Sedira, Nidhal Chamekh, Wessam Al Asali... all of them inscribed in conceptual matterism, a dialogue will take place between their works, which will reveal different topics addressed in the exhibition theme such as emigration - called illegal, resistance, endemic violence as a historical heritage, successive ravages, colonialism as well as the glorification of nationalism.
”Patria Delenda Est” (destruction) has been imagined by Amel Ben Attia like the prelude of a symphony played by TuniSphëre.
Set for 10 days, in a rough neighbourhood of Tunis, Bhar Lazrag, the installations will work like a back and forth journey between an imagined world of destruction (immersive video experiences, installations) and a deconstructured realm (the by foot track from one site to the other).
The artworks trail will be punctuated by drawings and works made by children from local schools (during workshops with the artist Catalina Swinburn) as well as children from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, who will imagine what ”Patria Delenda Est” means to them. Bhar Lazrag has indeed a large Sub-Saharan community in transit or settled.
The opening day, May 6th, will end with a grandiose decadence: the Carthage Symphonic Orchestra directed by Hafedh Makni playing to the desperate tune of the young Tunisian poet/rapper Zoufri in the midst of a wasteland, at the centre of the district.
The followings Acts
The 1st and 2nd Act of the Symphony will take place respectively in 2024 and 2025 and will focus on the themes related to what comes next.