This summer, over 150 artists from all around the world traveled to Tunisia’s island of Djerba to leave their mark on the in-situ street art exhibition housed in the modest village of Erriadh.
Dubbed, “Djerbahood,” the open-air gallery showcases more than 100 colorful murals that decorate the historic town’s whitewashed walls, rooftops, sidewalks, water tanks, and domes. Launched by French-Tunisian, Mehdi Ben Cheikh, founder of Galerie Itinerrance, the idea for the outdoors museum came to him as a result of the success of his 2013 “Tour Paris 13” mass installation, which included 80 street artists. Unlike the Paris-based show’s one-month duration before its demolishment, however, “Djerbahood” – in true graffiti-form – will completely surrender to nature’s course without a set end-date.
Artists made their way from the many nooks and corners of the planet to reach the unassuming location that has, for the most part, remained architecturally untouched over the centuries. The featured works range from an igloo in the desert by French artist Jace Gouzou to a spectacular image of a mother and child by U.S.A. native Swoon, to intoxicating mythical creatures by Mexican artist Curiot. Detailed portraits and an enormous octopus with a dome for a head follow locals and tourists down narrow streets, while eloquently painted words whisper messages to passing ears. Tunisian street artists have participated, as well, with InkMan, el Seed, and Shoof contributing their talents through a street art and Arabic calligraphy fusion known as “calligraffiti.”
So far, Ben Cheikh’s vision to create a space for art aficionados and enthusiasts to enjoy the creative and lively pieces of international artists has been received positively. Although initially taken back by the overwhelming amount of foreigners, local authorities and residents have embraced their new surroundings, recognizing the impact the project has had in boosting the locale’s economy by way of tourism. With no plans to create another museum of its kind anywhere else, the measure of livelihood in Erriadh is expected to continue rising.
The official preview of the exhibition is on September 20. But since it’s priced at absolutely nothing, with the exception of a ticket to Tunisia, feel free to go whenever you please.