Mouna Jemal Siala
Born in 1973 in Paris, Jemal lives and works in Tunis, Tunisia. A multidisciplinary artist, Jemal holds a PhD Thesis in Arts and Arts’ Sciences from Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne University. Since 1993, she has participated in many group exhibitions in France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Algeria, Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Switzerland, Morocco, India, USA, Egypt, Italy and Tunisia.
Her project “Non à la division” was presented under the form of a book and a photo exhibition. Jemal has participated in Instants Vidéos de Marseille and represented Tunisia in the exhibition “Lumières d’Afrique” on the sidelines of COP21. Jemal also took part in “Something Else” in Egypt, Biennale de Marrakech and in the last Biennale Dak’Art 2016.
When space tells time
This series of photos, taken immediately after the death of my grandmother, is an open invitation to visit, to discover the intimate interior of a family dwelling, typical of the city of Sfax, situated in the south of Sfax. It is called Borj. Sfax’sBorjs are implanted in the middle of big orchards, “the Jnens”. They enjoy a typical architecture adapted to the weather and the lifestyles of the region’s people. On an architectural level, all Borjs look alike. The furniture as well as the objects they comprise are almost identical. Thus, all those who lived there, whatever their age, practically share the same memories and the same emotions. Unfortunately, Sfax Borjs are on the way to disappearing as a consequence of the disappearance of the generation that built them. The Borj, with its “Habitus culturel” content, as would Pierre Bourdieu state, is a real patrimony, material (the building, the furniture…) and immaterial (memories of lifestyles…), that one should meticulously preserve rather than destroy. Today, Borjs are no longer being built. Since “modernity” invaded the city and its surroundings, the old Borjs have been deserted. The furniture, the equipment, the objects, the orchards that characterized them so much resist for some time and, in turn, perish in total indifference. Through the photographic shot, I wanted to bring back and revive these exquisite instants; vestiges and object, which have more or less resisted, are still there, witness of a presence, of real life, full of memories. Before becoming an immaterial patrimony, I fixed them.