Born in June 1969 in Tunis, Héla Ammar is a visual artist and a PhD graduate in law. Her photographs and installations question memory and identity by challenging conventional social, political and religious references. Her work has been showcased in various international biennials and art fairs including, Dak’art Biennal 2016 ( Senegal), « Fragments d’une Tunisie contemporaine », MuCem(Marseille, France 2015), Bamako Encounters (Mali, 2015), Something Else, Off Biennale Cairo (Egypt 2015) and many more. She is the author of « Corridors » (2015), a photo book on Tunisian prisons, and co-author of "Siliana Syndrome" (2013), a survey on death row in Tunisia, she recently developed a whole artwork around the prison environment.
Hidden portraits / Transe
The emancipation of North African countries has often prompted us to get away from an identity that is fixed on Orientalists rags. Taking quite literally the famous assertion of Edward Said, some have chosen the tabula rasa, even choosing to sweep away the starting points. Others have chosen an introspective approach that would lead to a reappropriation of their memory and to an assertion of multiple identities.
« Hidden portraits » and « Transe » lie in the latter stream. I believe our image has often been shaped from the outside by the fantasies and projections of the West and from within by our traditions. Our images is seen through layers. Some of them have been imposed, when others have been completely integrated. In both cases, they continue to be part of our own body.