plexiglass, mirrors, epoxy, resin, beam clamps, photographic print [24” x 12” x 1”]
In the summer of 2012, I was living in Tunisia – roughly a year after the revolution that kicked off the so-called “Arab Spring” of 2011. The years before and after were as tumultuous and bittersweet as the revolutions themselves, full of euphoric hope, heartbreak, and a passionate (if admittedly, somewhat delusional) belief that one day, change will come – and that freedom will one day come to the oppressed all over this world.
I took the photograph itself at the Carthage Museum, inside the space of Tunisia’s first post-revolution art exhibition – a celebration of the universal right to freedom of expression, attacked by a mob of hardline Salafi militants emboldened by transitional chaos. The assault on the art opening proved more than merely an attack on artworks themselves, but the very symbol of a free Tunisia for all citizens.
Shortly thereafter, the Tunisian government implemented a curfew; I spent many weeks contemplating the significance of the man depicted in this image: the caretaker of the Carthage Museum. His back turned to the entrance of the gallery space, the caretaker continued as if nothing was amiss, as if there would be no further consequences – or, perhaps, as if his soul knew a peace so profound that nothing plagued his mind with anxiety, or filled his heart with worry. In this moment of reflection and serenity, the caretaker is illuminated with a light I can only pray I one day understand, and eventually obtain.