Raised in Tunisia, Ayari didn’t start working with her Middle Eastern subject matter until she’d moved to America and notions of cultural heritage and identity came to the fore. She describes her practice as an awakening of self-consciousness. SidiBou takes its name from Sidi Bou Said, a popular tourist destination in northern Tunisia renowned for its blue and white buildings and cobbled streets. In Ayari’s work, the eye doubles as an ’I’, a personified all-seeing entity, anonymous witness, portrayal of cognitive perception. In SidiBou, the eyeball is closed, a pink fleshy mass bearing the punk Mohawk stripes of eyebrows or lashes. The street signs in the background read: “Avenue Iraq” and “Palestine Street”.

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