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Art Moves Africa – Retracing Roots and Tracing New Routes: Mobility and Touring in North Africa

A study by Lara Bourdin for Art Moves Africa, October 2019

A study by Lara Bourdin for Art Moves Africa, October 2019

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68<br />

Country-Specific Information<br />

the airport on a given day. <strong>–</strong> Mohamed Busne<strong>in</strong>a,<br />

drummer, Content Developer & Head of Music<br />

Dept. of Tanarout, Benghazi<br />

Flight delays <strong>and</strong> complications<br />

· All respondents noted that travell<strong>in</strong>g out of<br />

Libya is an extremely hazardous <strong>and</strong> at best<br />

time-consum<strong>in</strong>g process.<br />

Flight delays are crazy <strong>–</strong> sometimes you wait 10 <strong>–</strong> 12<br />

hours <strong>in</strong> the airport, wait<strong>in</strong>g there for noth<strong>in</strong>g. <strong>–</strong><br />

Mohamed Busne<strong>in</strong>a<br />

Harassment<br />

· Harassment at the airport is extremely common,<br />

namely for artists <strong>and</strong> especially for women<br />

travell<strong>in</strong>g alone.<br />

At arrival at the airport, I was held for a while<br />

for no conv<strong>in</strong>c<strong>in</strong>g reason. In my op<strong>in</strong>ion, it was<br />

related to the fact that I am a Tunisian woman,<br />

unveiled <strong>and</strong> travell<strong>in</strong>g alone to Libya. As the<br />

airport is still primarily controlled by militia, many<br />

of which are pro-Daesh, a woman travell<strong>in</strong>g alone<br />

is as such a defiance. <strong>–</strong> Ouafa Belgacem, cultural<br />

resource mobilization expert, CEO of Culture<br />

Fund<strong>in</strong>g Watch, Tunis<br />

—<br />

L<br />

I<br />

B<br />

Y<br />

A<br />

—<br />

Lack of identification with <strong>Africa</strong> <strong>and</strong> racism<br />

· Racism is a major issue <strong>in</strong> Libya. Discrim<strong>in</strong>ation<br />

toward black Libyans <strong>and</strong> <strong>Africa</strong>ns is<br />

deep-seated, marked namely by the presence<br />

of racial stratifications <strong>and</strong> derogatory terms.<br />

However, it has taken new forms <strong>in</strong> recent<br />

years, especially as a result of the war, which<br />

has caused <strong>in</strong>ternal displacement for black<br />

Libyan communities, <strong>and</strong> the escalation of<br />

migration from <strong>Africa</strong>n countries further south.<br />

Indeed, despite the strife <strong>and</strong> <strong>in</strong>stability <strong>in</strong> the<br />

country, Libya is an important transit po<strong>in</strong>t<br />

for migrants try<strong>in</strong>g to reach Europe. Human<br />

rights organizations have reported the vast<br />

range of abuses that migrants face, from arbitrary<br />

detentions, to beat<strong>in</strong>gs, to kill<strong>in</strong>gs. In<br />

2016, the IOM reported that migrant <strong>Africa</strong>ns<br />

were be<strong>in</strong>g sold as slaves <strong>in</strong> Libya; <strong>in</strong> 2017,<br />

CNN published a video of a slave auction<br />

that sparked an <strong>in</strong>ternational outcry. In the<br />

media <strong>and</strong> <strong>in</strong> everyday conversation, Libya<br />

is described as a dangerous place for black<br />

<strong>Africa</strong>ns.<br />

Lack of <strong>in</strong>frastructures <strong>and</strong> professional<br />

tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

· As described above, there is a glar<strong>in</strong>g lack<br />

of <strong>in</strong>frastructures <strong>and</strong> facilities for the arts <strong>in</strong><br />

Libya’s ma<strong>in</strong> centres, due to repression dur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the Gaddafi era <strong>and</strong> subsequent destruction<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g the years of conflict. Nevertheless, the<br />

centres described above are eager to connect<br />

with foreign artists <strong>and</strong> are build<strong>in</strong>g facilities<br />

that could host mobility projects <strong>in</strong> the future.<br />

· The new generation of Libyan artists <strong>and</strong> cultural<br />

operators is largely self-taught, mak<strong>in</strong>g it<br />

difficult for them to compete with <strong>in</strong>ternational<br />

artists <strong>in</strong> fund<strong>in</strong>g calls. They are however highly<br />

motivated <strong>and</strong> are seek<strong>in</strong>g out opportunities<br />

for tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g whenever available.<br />

I’m self-taught. All of us have to learn the hard<br />

way. Lots of th<strong>in</strong>gs, we learn via the Internet. We<br />

can’t f<strong>in</strong>d materials <strong>in</strong> the country for many types<br />

of art. At Tanarout we’re all volunteers. <strong>–</strong> D<strong>in</strong>a<br />

Gallal, photographer, Tanarout, Benghazi

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