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Culture and Arts

Erriadh, the Tunisian village turned into an outdoor art gallery

By Lauriane Noelle Vofo Kana with AFP

There are some cities in the world where tourists don’t need to step into a museum to come across art pieces. The town of Erriadh on the southern Tunisian resort island of Djerba is one of them.

A collective of artists have used old buildings, houses and walls as their canvas.

Be them pottery or landscape paintings, the murals visible at every corner of the town offer a glimpse into different universes.

Djerbahood is a village where around 150 artists, even a little more, have come to express themselves, Mehdi Ben Cheikh, the gallery owner and organiser of “Djerbahood” details. Street artists from around 34 nationalities have come to express themselves in a village that has 2,000 years of history; the choice of the setting has a lot of meaning.

Djerba is famous for its pristine beaches and clear water but more and more visitors are getting off the beaten track. They travel to the town of Erriadh to wander around the streets of the open-air museum. The street art project known as “Djerbahood” was first organised in 2014.

The goal of this project is to create a new way of displaying urban art, to create a museum, a real museum, with labels for the works, with a certain lighting, certain works and staging, Ben Cheikh reveals. We also wish to create a dynamic, to give this museum to the residents so that they can make it their own and that it becomes a sort of business for them.

The growing visibility of the town can indeed be a vehicle for growth. The Tunisian ministries of Tourism and Cultural Affairs as well as the EU support the project. Art now contributes to preserving the island’s thousand-year-old heritage.

“”Djerbahood” is a must-see in Djerba. This is not the first time I’ve been here, but what’s good is that it changes and each time you’re curious to come back to see what’s different and what isn’t.”

New colorful murals spreading across dozens of meter on the wall appear frequently. In 2022, Invader and El Seed were two of the new additions to the street artists collective. The influential American artist Shepard Fairey who’s better known as Obey also participated in this year’s project.

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