Tashweesh festival
“Our vision is less about the finished pieces, and more about the process, the collaboration, the motivation, the aesthetic and political potentiality of each and every artist. The festival does not claim to give voice to artists and activists, but rather to learn from them by conversing with their practices.”

“Our vision is less about the finished pieces, and more about the process, the collaboration, the motivation, the aesthetic and political potentiality of each and every artist. The festival does not claim to give voice to artists and activists, but rather to learn from them by conversing with their practices.”

TASHWEESH FESTIVAL READ

Text by co-curators Tania El Khoury and Bochra Triki

For the last two years, despite a pandemic that drastically shifted how we collaborate across borders, we had the incredible opportunity to curate feminist artists and activists who continue to inspire us. Tashweesh is a multi-locations multidisciplinary art festival presenting art, activism, and research practices of intersectional feminism in Europe and SWANA (South West Asia and North Africa).

 

Tashweesh is an Arabic word with several meanings. Perhaps the most relevant one to us is the act of disturbing an imposed silence. Curating contemporary art work with a feminist lens carries the political potential of disturbing silence. 

 

Tashweesh Festival is held in three cities, Tunis, Brussels and Vienna with their varied political contexts as well as historical and contemporary struggles and expression of gender and sexuality. Tashweesh’s performances, talks, workshops, screenings, and exhibitions  give us a glimpse of these various contexts without claiming to represent them. The work reminds us of the relevance of feminist discourses in art and politics both in racialized and marginalized communities as well as those on the priviledged side of our bordered world. 

 

As artists and activists ourselves working in the Arab world and beyond, it was crucial for both us to curate a common program as well as city-specific programs from within our artistic and activist practice. We understand  that artists and activists are rarely invited to guest curate. Hence,we feel that this is an opportunity for us to curate with an artist-centric vision. Our vision is less about the finished pieces, and more about the process, the collaboration, the motivation, and the aesthetic and political potentiality of everyone’s practice. Our programmation did not have to abide by the industry’s preferred aesthetics and favoured content. We felt attracted to art that we found messy, bold, experiential, that sits across disciplines and lives in between locations.  

 

The festival does not claim to give voice to artists and activists, it aims to learn from them and converse with their practices. This edition of Tashweesh embraces vulnerability, survival tools, and shared skills between feminists working across borders and social and political contexts. It focuses on feminist and queer knowledge production that disrupts the mainstream narrative rather than limiting itself to a performative protest art.

 

Through these multiple gatherings, we aim to bring together bodies in celebration, in decolonization, in deconstruction of patriarchal laws and rules, as a way to re-think feminisms in a collective, intimate, and inclusive plurality.

Tania El Khoury & Bochra Triki