With a mission to nurture Tunisia’s creative scene, it’s no surprise that the Kamal Lazaar Foundation (KLF) is spearheading the nation’s newest art hub.
The organisation—which was also behind the annual Jaou Tunis Art Festival—has opened up a permanent home in the North African capital. Nestled in the heart of Bhar Lazreg, an impoverished area just a few kilometres on the outskirts of the posh neighbourhood of La Marsa, the new space, entitled B7L9, takes its name from the area that’s commonly written as B7ar Larzer9 by locals.
Once a breeding ground for protests and political upheaval during the 2011 Tunisian revolution, Bhar Lazreg was a deliberate choice for KLF’s latest endeavour. Having been heavily neglected over the years, B7L9 is trying to bring new life to the marginalised neighboured with an open-door policy that’s intended to foster a sense of community through its exhibitions.
The space, which is described as “a laboratory for KLF” is intended to push for change, not only by positioning Tunisia as a creative hub in the region, but to encourage an expansion of the local creative scene to grow beyond the upper-class art community.
And if their first exhibition was any indication, the new cutting-edge establishment is set to be truly transformative. Curated by Basak Senova, the exhibition, entitled Climbing Through the Tide, opened up over the weekend.
The show put a spotlight on both local and international artists, from Tunisian painter Hatem El Mekki, to Iraqi visual artist Adel Abidin and Iranian filmmaker Negar Tahsili.
The space consists of three interconnected levels: an exhibition space with a projection room, residency facilities for artists, and a roof terrace that includes a café, an open library and an open garden.