Tunisia Art Scene: Artist uses display to raise awareness on environment, refugees
Updated 13:10, 02-Jun-2019
Mohsen is a resident of Zarzis in Tunisia. He used to lead an ordinary life -- until he was inspired to do something more meaningful with his life. Having grown up by the sea, Mohsen has been collecting objects he found on the beaches for 23 years. With his artistic arrangements, he's set up a museum, to create awareness about the environment and the refugee crisis. CGTN's Adnen Chaouachi has more.
"Memory of the Sea" is the name of this museum located in the coastal city of Zarzis, southeastern Tunisia. For the past 23 years, Moshen has been collecting bottles and all kinds of objects he found on the beaches. The retired post office employee is self-taught artist who's making his own art installations to raise awareness about marine pollution and the environment.
MOHSEN LIHIDHEB ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST "In 1993, I was in my forties, I said enough to observing, reading, smoking and politics. I dedicated my life to my childhood dream which is the sea. Chance and wave movements were my guide in collecting objects at dawn or during the sunset."
Guinness World Records recognized Mohsen for collecting 26,820 items in just six years. Residents of Zarzis say they are proud of their artist.
MOHAMED KRIMI ZARZIS CIVIL SOCIETY ACTIVIST "Mohsen is a self made man and artist. The city of Zarzis is proud of him because his achievement has been recognized by the prestigious Guinness Book. Nobody thought of collecting bottles and objects like he did."
Moshen has often found unnamed and unclaimed bodies of African migrants on the beach.
MOHSEN LIHIDHEB ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST "I found over 1 million objects but I chose to keep a small portion. This bottle gave me the power to continue. The message in the bottle was written by a migrant who's written to his family. I'm living an adventure and feeling the suffering of African migrants."
Mohsen calls on Tunisian, African and European visitors of his museum to listen to the untold stories of African migrants. The stories are often revealed by each object he collects on the beach.
ADNEN CHAOUACHI ZARZIS, TUNISIA "The artist of Zarziss is encouraging fellow Tunisian citizens and people in Mediterranean countries to contribute to waste management, which is a tool for environmental protection. Mohsen also urges governments and NGOs to look at the refugee crisis from a humanitarian perspective. AC, CGTN."