Tunisia is the smallest country in Africa and never for once did it strike my mind that I would find so much inspiration given the mosaic line of work I am in. When I think back I remember Carthage and all the stories with the Romans and the battles. But as time passes one forgets history and all the ways the world was connected back then. Most people remember it for the recent revolution which was a change towards democracy but it will take some time before the locals can see some fruits as their daily lives have not changed a huge deal other than the way they can voice themselves but the people are warm and friendly unless you befriend a shopkeeper. Then it may be a chore to go away without buying something. I was also rather struck how liberal the country was despite having a 98% Muslim population and did not find myself out of place.
Moving back to Mosaics I was truly amazed to see the number of museums as well as the use of mosaics in their day to day lives. The Bardo museum has the biggest collection of well preserved and near complete mosaics I have seen. They are housed in both a modern building (light and spacious) and the old palace. Just glance here to see a virtual tour of what I am talking about and you will see the amount of depth and the scale of the exhibits that i am talking about.
If mosaics is not the only thing you are after you have the weather and the ability to actually walk in the Colosseum in El Jem and admire the scale of the same. I don’t believe I would be a fan of the games myself but I accept that was one of the things popular during those times. If you also decide that mosaics is your thing you can visit the local museum using the same ticket and admire some of the local mosaics that adorned some of the houses around that area as it was a place of wealth during those times. I would recommend having a look at this chapter for those who would love to read some more background on the Tunisian Roman mosaics. You will find that almost every major town in Tunisia will have beautiful mosaics to talk about and if you can’t visit I thought blogging about it would inspire my work, fans of mosaic as well as children that I work with.
All in all though I don’t do a huge amount of work in the Roman style but this is something I would consider even further though I was involved with Debbie Stirling to produce a replica of the iconic hare in Corinium Museum. This was be presented to civic leaders in Itzehoe next week to mark the 25th anniversary of Cirencester’s link with the German town. I now generally love to work with glass but there is an interest for Roman mosaics given they landed here too in England.
I am always looking for new ideas and inspiration and this summer would lead to many new and interesting projects unless of course I look at Medusa and turn to stone. Then of course I would become my own mosaic but I suppose that would not be a bad thing!