Tunisia: Skander Khlif Exposes the Pain of Exile and the Anguish of Return Through his Photos

maryam lahbal
maryam lahbal
2 Min Read

Embark on a boat trip that transcends mere transportation and transforms into a profound philosophical journey. In “The Return to Tunis” exhibition, Skander Khlif’s poignant captures of the pain of exile and the anxiety of returning are showcased in a mesmerizing display at the Archivart gallery. Through the lens of the Tunisian photographer, we are transported on a visual odyssey across the vast sea, as we confront the agony of displacement and the hope for a new beginning. The exhibition invites us to pause, contemplate, and immerse ourselves in the suspended moment of reflection that it offers.

The islands beckon, their allure is undeniable. The sea, a direct line to a homeland left behind, tantalizes the senses. Photographer Skander Skhlif captures this emotion perfectly in his exhibition, The Return, as evidenced by a conversation with one of his visitors.

The Superba, a ferry running between Genoa and Tunis, serves as a vessel for memories, both fond and bittersweet. Skander Negra, 34, recalls the unique charm of the ferry’s little bar, with its Tunisian kitsch and badly painted blue metal. The journey itself, not just the destination, evokes a sense of homecoming.

A 24-hour journey leaves ample time for reflection. Thoughts turn to what has been left behind, what awaits on the other side. Such trips should be taken more often, as a way to reconnect with oneself and with one’s roots.

Curator Wafa Gabsi understands the power of such moments. The photographs in the exhibition evoke joy, despair, melancholy, and loneliness – all reflections of absence and lack. As someone who has experienced the diaspora, she recognizes the importance of these moments in one’s life journey.

Maryam Lahbal

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