Batata, 2008–2018

Transfer Prints with ink and oil on paper on canvas; 99.5 x 149.5 x 4 cm | 39 1/8 x 58 7/8 x 1 5/8 in. 

© Photo: Lawrie Shabibi 2018

A work that was a decade in the making, ” فاش تعمل تَتا ؟“ ”شوفو شوفو لولاد فاش تعمل هذِي ؟ “ [...] a diptych formed from a print taken from a wall in Tunis in 2008, paired with a collage made from dried potato skins. The wall print carries the inscription “BATATA”, the nickname of a man who refused military service and was imprisoned by the military police under president Ben Ali’s regime, becoming a local hero.
The nickname means “potato” and is a reference to a poor man’s food – the protagonist hailing from a poor working class background. The second part of the work (the collage of dried potato skins) is exhibited in a frame that used to house a portrait of Ben Ali from the University of Agriculture: objects can be given new meaning in a different context. In this case: leaders disappear, the people remain.
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