By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Works by Tunisian artist Thameur Mejri that comprise a melody of colors, human limbs, birds, aircrafts, geometric shapes, television sets and animals among others never fail to grab the immediate attention of viewers as it explores the image of Tunisian society.
Noted for the distinction of his paint strokes accompanied by intermittent intensity, the artist, whose works are currently on show at Gallery 1957 in Accra, reveal a powerful visual language that has been embedded in different historical references.
Evidently obsessed with colours, the intricacy of his compositions are the direct result of the firmness of his reflection, his creative process and undeniably the intellectual endeavor, which end up in paintings that are formidable with definitions reflecting the image of Tunisian society.
Titled “Eroded Grounds”, the exhibition is rife with motifs, which Mejri effectively combines with a vigorous application of paint thereby creating a sensation of tense vibration. Undeniably, this enables his messages to be transmitted in a manner that results in varying degrees of comprehension.
Also a professor at the Tunis Institute of Fine Arts (Tunisia), Mejri’s work equally deals with violence, cruelty and narrow-mindedness, which he represents with guns, skulls, hands, mutilated bodies, knives, animals, masks, telephones, calligraphy, chairs and many others that embrace pictograms emerging from his concepts.
Indeed, the human body is central to Mejri and he employs it in diverse ways to address issues in his native Tunisia and beyond while expressing some level of sensitivity. Indeed, within his gyratory colors, symphonies of images appear and they tend to live side by side in in restrained chaos.
Mejri sees the human body a mechanism that can build, produce and love but can at the same time be an instrument of domination, destruction and death as he makes allusions to the politico-cultural situation in Tunisia vis-à-vis the conflict between tradition and modernity.
Chaos reigns across the majority of the paintings – and it is disorder under crushing burden as he depicts different types of pressure his generation and indeed the larger society is currently facing in his native country and elsewhere.
The exhibition ends on Tuesday May 7, 2019.