Ahl Al-Kahf |

Ahl Al-Kahf (in arabic Seven Sleepers)
Artistic-political collective co-founders in Tunis, (2011) by Elyes Mejri, Mohamedali Ltaief and Ziad Hadhri. With Manel Mahdouani, Imed Aouadi, Nidhal Chamekh, Omar Karray, Nyzar Salhi, Oussema Gaidi, Wassim Ltaief and Omar Ben Brahim .

The "Arab Spring" prossesses an unexplored discoursive dimension made of stratified stereotypical approaches and assumptions linked to the "Arab world” and its horizons of political agency. In the aftermath of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, in a period of renewed censorship and instability, multiple actors coming from citizen journalism and activist / artistic backgrounds collaborate in experimenting post-revolutionary counter-power. In 2011, not too far away from the Republic Square in the Tunisian Capital, several boys and girls start vivaciously decorating an old wall in bright white and red stencils, producing mysterious iconographic portraits, short cryptic quotes and an apparent invasion of ants coming out of a hole. the recent revolution apparently suspended censorship and authoritarian control, nevertheless this creative appropriation of a public wall appears highly audacious. A policeman stops and interrogates the artists, afraid they might be drawing something subversive. just "philosophers and ants" they answer. the young men and women are members of the Tunisian Ahl al-Kahf, artistic-political collective. the "philosophers" decipted above the stream of ants are the controversial Moroccan novelist, Mohamed Choukri, Antonio Negri, Edward Said and Gilles Deleuze, their quotes in Arabic symbolically mark the strivings of the young artists in the immediate aftermath of the revolution: " I’m writing in order to be banned" (choukri), "Power can always brocken somewhere" (Negri), "Intellectuals have to witness the badness of using history" (Said), but mostly "To create is to resist" (Deleuze).

Oana Parvan
Beyond the "Arab Spring" New Media,
Art and Counter-information in post-revolutionnary North Africa.