Najah Zarbout

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Najah is from the archipelago called the Kerkennah Islands located off the east coast of Tunisia in the Gulf of Gabes.  Once a look-out point used by the Romans – today, the island is a port city for the mainland.  The historic North African country borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert. Home to Roman ruins, it has become a traveler’s paradise for decades given its pristine beaches and crystal-clear blue waters. A place where tranquility runs deep and wide due to its location in the sea.

Growing up Najah traveled extensively including during her academic years while in pursuit of her PhD in Arts and Sciences. Exhibiting regularly in Africa and throughout Europe, she has lived and worked between Tunisia and France since 2002.  With a focus on everyday people, Najah looks to present topics and problems faced in society allowing the observer of her works to realize how serious somethings should be in nature and provides a reflection of life which in many cases allow us to laugh at ourselves.

Her works are a variety of diverse disciplines ranging from sculptures, drawings, paintings, photography and video installations. Najah’s subject matter has serious and humorous undertones intended to communicate deeper meanings that in many cases is more than what meets the eye.  As an artist who’s engaged, not only politically, socially, but humanly — she conveys through her works a way to persist and exist, while being a form of cultural resistance.

In her own words: “I’m interested in topics related to contemporary life. I question the relationships we have with each other and express this ideology in my art. Other appeals include the inspiration I feel from literature that’s new and old.  Novels exploring tales and vignettes covering subjects as mysticism, surrealism, eroticism, social science, and politics have played a role in my installations and renderings in one way or another.  I envision what life would be like during these periods either myself as a character or me as a voyeur depicting the lives of others.  I try to give a new existence to everything that concerns me. Sometimes related to the body sometimes related to the relationship, or with space and time.”


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