Expo 1. Tunis
The Grand Opening exhibition of the new Tunisian selection took place at the first art fair of Tunis. It took place at Cite de la Culture, a new building that hosts different arts: theatre, film, fine arts, puppet theatre.
We got a great spot at the corridor and almost 1500 people were confronted with our everlasting beauty. Many participating artist have joined us and it was a great rendezvous.

The minister of Culture visited us as well and was so impressed that we solved all organizational problems instantly. You must realize Tunisia is pretty well organized, but one shoud have the patience to wait until the last second to see it happen. But it happened, and we are happy.

Thank you Aissa Gouirah, Wissem Gharsala, Hejer Ridene and so many others.

Was it perfect? of course not. Does it even exists, perfect? The catalogue will be ready next week so do expect an update that will tell you to buy a great catalogue of fantastic Tunisian artists.

Next stop: Beja
Expo 2. Beja
Sometimes we know what to expect, but often we do not. We arrived in Beja on our first stop around the country. Not knowing what to expect we found ourselves in a position we love to be: modest but friendly people who offered the central square, gave us some excellent food at a local restaurant and a modest but cool hotelroom.

Oh, but they also made this banner and put it on the balcony of the city hall. The arts council and center of arts have been doing a great job in a short time. All in order to celebrate great art and positiveness which we shared with the people of Beja. Hunderds of people cast a vote for their most popular painting, junior and senior artists spend a lot of time with us, shopping mothers enjoyed us and kids on their way to school gathered.

All we can say is: Thank you Beja and for those who do not know Beja... take your time and visit this city. You might finds some 'attractions', but for sure you will meet great and friendly people.
If all cities act like this, we have entered paradise.

Next stop: Jandouba
Expo 3. Jendouba and Fernena
Our next stop is Jendouba. Entering the Tunisian mountains, the beginning of the Atlas mountain range.
Since the police wants to be sure all is going well, we get escorted where ever we go. It helps to avoid the small and crowded streets with our big truck.

The frirst presentation is at a secondary school called Freedom. Could we have a better place? I think not.
Great kids, relaxed, interested and for sure aware of what is going on in the world. We met this fantastic lady Ambyr, who sent over 100 pictures of our facebook site. Presentations took place in Frensh, English and Arab.

Next days we met several of these students saying hello at us all the time. During these three days we also were sent to Fernena, a small maintain community 20 km away, where we did a relaxed presentation.
Finally we presented the last day at the union celebration that took place for the 6th time, every year in another city and this year in Jendouba.
The arts council did a splendid job, gave us food and accomodation and a big smile. These cities are cities you should visit and feel the friendliness of Tunisia.

Meanwhile the administration is goind full speed ahead. Discover Tunisia is one of our sponsors and contacted us to say they were inspired by the video we posted, UAPT, one of our partners is pushing the information, we did several radio interviews and also the publisher is doing its best to get the catalogue finished.

Tomorrow we will leave this city, hoping to come back one day and say hello to all these friendly people.

Next stop: Le Kef
we are going full speed ahead
Expo 4. Le Kef
We have entered the mountains of west Tunisia and arrived in Le Kef, the city of theatre and humor, the city of the large argo-culture university and the major sports education center. Le Kef has a fantastic panoramic view over the valley and, like in many places in this part of the country, there is quite a lot of public work going on. That is not too strange. The Tunisian revolution and in fact the complete Arab spring started in these areas. They were neglegted for too long but at least the changes that took place had some effect: road constructions and in every town we come they are fixing the cultural centers. Which in Le Kef is also a sports center so we are surounded by visiting football players.

Also in Le Kef our friends (and sponsors and co-organizers) from Kelibia visited us and since we are doing so well, we had our first extremely great relaxing private party on top of the mountain, in the middle of the night, at the magnificent old castle.

Le Kef was great also due to the flexibility of the local authorities. It may be said. Thank you police and cultural responsibles.
Great time.

Next stop: Bargou/Siliana
Expo 5. Siliana
The next city, or... actually we promised our partners to visit every governorate. Americans would speak about states, Dutch might speak about province, but here they are called governorate. There are 21 of the them (or 22) and we have promised to visit them all. It turns out that every time we visit a location for 2 days, they send us to different locations every time. So in Siliana we visited Ain BouSaida and Gaffour. Great places, organized by the International Drama Center in Gaffour (find the via CIQA).
We are now into the society. In other locations the local cultural responsible took care of us, sometimes with great knowledge or art, sometimes with good intentions only. But here we came to a location where local youngsters rented their own place and started up their own youth and art center.

It is a pleasure to be part of this community.

Besides a presentation in front of the municipality house they brought us to the source of the river, high up in the mountains. Fantastic location that reminded me a little to Albania or Bosnia: quiet, openminded, relaxed, and intense connections. Our presentation was at the end of a workshop period of 20 students from the region. Great guys and girls, headed by the force of the region, Madam Hadou.

As we mentioned on social media on the day it took place: we can speak a lot but you better come and visit.

We closed the official presentation of the workshop program with the remark we are honoured to be part of this community.

Thank you Siliana, au revoir.

Next stop: Kasserine
Expo 6. Kasserine
You have to realize that Tunisia is dived by east and west, coast and inland. This first part of the journey is is in the west side of the country. The protection by police is not a surprise. The border is near, their way of working is also a remnent of the dictatorial times, although now they are much more friendly as before the revolution.
But also in the west are revolutionairy people. Not only the Arab Spring started in this region. They have dealt with Rommel and Montgomery, they have dealt with the Frensh kolonizers, with the Ottoman, the Vandals, the Arabs, the Romans. We are in the heartland of the country.

It is therefore we were so very happy with the presentation of today. Although the weather did not look good, we prepared yesterday with Hamza, local cultural responsible, and after delibiration he offered us this fantastic location as you can see on the pictures. Even more important it was to meet teachers and students, intelectuals and others in order to spread the communication about art, which is, at the end, a gateway for the freedom of thoughts.

I am sure this presentation will be remembered for a long time.

Also funny and good: the most popular paintings of the almost 200 votes we received was an artist who original comes from Kasserine. Une grande salut for Mr. Nasredinne Al Assaly.

Une grande salut for Kasserine.

Au revoir.

Next stop Sidi Bouzid. Exciting!
Expo 7. Sidi Bouzid
The city where the Arab Spring started is a city like several in this part of the country. These are young cities, with not a lot of distraction. There is agriculture and not much more. Indeed the revolution did not change that.
There are new roads, in many cities are investments in the youth culture, there is a law that says that every govenarate should have a recycling plant by 2019, which will definatively give a boost to the reduction of pollution, plus a number of people will find ways to make a living with it. But some wonder if this is the miracle they were waiting for.

Alo interesting: quite some Tunisians from abroad came back and are now investing in these areas, making the place better.
It is a good place, great people, good responsabilities (for example older people are still supporting the school they attended when they were kids). So we attended in two of these schools in the region of Sidi Bouzid and we presented on the main square, a few hundred meters away from the place where that young man burned himself in from of a government building, putting the country on fire.
It burned well but it did not burn down the state. That is maybe why Tunisia is developing in a good direction. No void was created to be misused.

Slowly we are entering the 2nd phase of our journey; desert and oasis.

Next stop: Gafsa
Expo 8. Gafsa
We entered and started right away on a city square, and 36 hours later we left in a rush.

Not that we wanted to leave, not at all, but new obligations were waiting. Meanwhile we had great presentations and our audience was extremely diverse. Including radio shows (See link on facebook), TV and great people. Omar took us around the city and surroundings, having a drink and a nice chat.

Followed by a short rest in a 5-star hotel and quickly to the square of art, near to three secondary schools in the center of Gafsa where we did funny presentations and gave the kids some good lessons in the importance of beauty, determination and awareness.
But before we could have dinner and sleep agan in this magnificent ..... Hotel (with laundry service, very nice when on tour in hot countries) we were asked to travel to the next city, since the presentation will be part of a cultural event and start early.
So here we are, at our next stage: Tozeur. To be continued.