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Art Day in Kairouan


Activities, News

Jraba Square, in the Medina of Kairouan (Tunisia), is the site of one of RehabiMeds most significant pilot operations to improve the quality of the urban space, rehabilitating a rather run-down square that is a stop on tourist routes of the town. The Medina of Kairouan was declared UNESCO world heritage in 1989 and has received many illustrious visitors in the course of its history, but today it is visited by hundreds of tourists who only visit the Great Mosque before disappearing into a bazaar to listen to the ritual spiel of carpet-sellers. Local authorities aim to offer interesting routes around the Medina in an attempt to turn this mass tourism into cultural tourism that respects local traditions.

On 9 September, RehabiMed organized an artistic activity in the square to raise public awareness of local heritage. The Association for the Protection of the Medina decided to pay homage to famous painters such as Paul Klee (1879-1940), August Macke (1887-1914) and Louis Moilliet (1880-1962) by organizing the activity under the title In the steps of the great painters. These three artists had the pleasure not only of painting Kairouan but also of celebrating its splendid light, its colours and the magnificent volumes of its austere architecture.

A group of 15 children gave artistic form to the way they see Kairouan and the towns relation with present-day tourism. It was surprising to see that almost all of them painted the minaret of the Great Mosque to represent the town, emulating tourism posters from the mid-20th century.

It seems obvious that, for them, their town is this exceptional monument that attracts thousands of visitors, and the rest of Kairouan is just an unremarkable setting for everyday life and therefore, in their eyes, of little interest. The purpose of RehabiMeds pilot operation in Jraba Square in Kairouan is to highlight other places of interest and attract tourists who want to visit the town as a whole and discover its hidden treasures.