Painting in a figurative and surreal manner, acclaimed Tunisian painter Halim Karabibene reflects on political and socio-cultural themes in artwork.
Karabibene’s canvases are often crowded with people, animals, and half-human, half-animal figures that are stationary or floating. The artist draws on European artistic and political history, and is inspired greatly by the atmosphere of his hometown, Bizerte. The northern-most Tunisian city bordering the Mediterranean Sea includes a harbour from the early French protectorate, and is surrounded by medieval fortifications. “Using cultural cliches as a catalyst, these fantastic and outlandish visions are a representation of our shared–and so often hysterical–collective consciousness,” Tunisia’s Galerie el Marsa has said to describe Karabibene’s work. Caustic humour underlies his dream-like creations, which reflect on issues facing society and politics.
Karabibene, who studied at the School of Architecture of Paris, has spent the last few years trying to push the government to inaugurate Tunisia’s first National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. He has exhibited in Tunisia, as well as France, Italy, Spain, Morocco, UAE and the United States.