Hillary Rodham Clinton calls David Black and Hechmi Ghachem “Honorary Diplomats”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
CALLS DAVID BLACK AND HECHMI GHACHEM
FOR THEIR CONTINUED EFFORTS TO BUILD BRIDGES THAT ARTISTS IN
TUNISIA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE NOW ABLE TO CROSS
ARTIST AND FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR DAVID BLACK WELCOMES
TUNISIAN COLLABORATIVE PAINTING (TCP) CREATOR HECHMI GHACHEM
AND TUNISIAN ARTISTS MOURAD ZERAI AND OLFA JEGHAM
WORKSHOPS: NOW THROUGH NOVEMBER 18
PANEL DISCUSSION: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17 at 7pm
New York, NY (11/15/11) – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent a letter to artist and Fulbright Scholar David Black and Tunisian Collaborative Painting creator Hechmi Ghachem, congratulating them on successfully importing Tunisian Collaborative Painting (TCP) to the United States and to thank them for their continued efforts to link artists in Tunisia and the U.S.
Speaking of Black’s dedication to bring this fascinating, vital and politically relevant new democratic form of artistic expression to the United States, Clinton states, “It is especially gratifying to see one of those artists take it upon himself to act as an honorary diplomat. By introducing this unique art form to the United States at a time when the Tunisian artists who pioneered it could not travel, you built a bridge that artists from both countries are now able to cross.”
In November 2008, U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Robert Godec chose David Black’s paintings for his residence through the U.S. State Department’s ART in Embassies Program. He also invited Black to Tunisia where he was introduced to Ghachem and TCP. Ghachem created TCP in 1988 to help artists survive under the oppressive regime of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Recognizing that it was dangerous for artists to work individually, Ghachem formed Brigades of artists to work collaboratively on a single canvas. The surprising outcome was that each finished painting looked as if it was created by a single artist.
So moved by the process and outcome, Black invited Ghachem to teach TCP in the United States but due to political circumstances, travel was impossible at the time. Now, 9 months after the success of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, which marks the beginning of the Arab Spring, the Tunisian artists are free to travel. Black’s dream of bringing these brave artists and unique artform to the United States has been realized.
Now through November 18, TCP creator Hechmi Ghachem and Tunisian artists Mourad Zerai and Olfa Jegham have joined Black at The Art Students League of New York, 215 West 57th Street, New York, NY to conduct workshops on this unique, collaborative artform.
On Thursday, November 17 at 7:00pm a panel discussion moderated by Black, featuring Ghachem, Zerai and Jegham, Cultural Affairs Specialist for the American Embassy in Tunisia Khaled Souissi, Professor of Political Science and Director of Middle East Studies at Fordham University John Entelis, Professor of Psychology at Brooklyn College Aaron Kozbelt, The Art Students League of New York Executive Director Ira Goldberg, and other diplomats and scholars TBA, will explore the impact that closer ties between America and Tunisia will have on the Arab world and what Tunisian Collaborative Painting offers American artists that they cannot experience elsewhere.
For additional information about the workshops and panel discussion, visit: http://www.theartstudentsleague.org/Workshops/TunisianCollaborativePaintingWorkshop.aspx
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“To build bridges between cultures and peoples is an essential element in the strengthening of international relations. Art is a language that needs no translation and that unites us all.”
–Former U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Robert F. Godec commenting on David Black’s commitment to introduce Tunisian Collaborative Painting to the United States.