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The Dream’s Chebeb programme of Resist’Art offers creative support to young artists between the ages of 18 and 30 from all governorates of Tunisia. It helps these makers in develop and showcase their own productions. The participants all come from different regions, where hardly any cultural activity takes place. This initiative gives them the opportunity to realise their dreams through theatre, music or dance and then to present them to a local audience in their own region. Leila Toubel, founder and director of Resist’Art, tells us more about the importance of this project.
Art heals the wounded soul
The DOEN Foundation supports cultural partners in different parts of the world, because we believe in the impact of arts and culture. Each of these organisations have their own reasons and beliefs as to why this is so important.
Leila: “There are many reasons, but the most important one was to do my bit as a committed artist who has been fighting for freedom and human rights for thirty years. Young people lit the first flame of the Tunisian revolution (17 December 2010 - 14 January 2011) demanding freedom, dignity and work; a revolution that was confiscated, kidnapped and betrayed. Disillusioned and left to their unfortunate fate, the young people no longer have much choice as to what to do with their lives, so they board a small boat to drown before reaching the coast, or go on ‘JIHAD‘ to kill and die, or slowly agonise about doing nothing, hoping for nothing.”
For Leila, Dream’s Chebeb is a way to give young people better opportunities; creativity instead of disillusion, hope instead of betrayal.
“Art heals the wounded soul, slows down decay and helps to prevent the rejection of a homeland. In all humility, Dream’s Chebeb wants to be a lifeline, a source of hope and an outstretched hand to prevent the irreparable.”
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Joy, dreams and hope
Dream’s Chebeb’s most important role is to give young Tunisian makers the financial means and support to carry out their artistic projects. It supports theatrical creativity and the artistic and technical aspects of professionalisation.
“We stimulate a dynamic of creation in the regions and cities foundering in a cultural and artistic desert, giving hope and satisfying the need for self-fulfilment.”
After a long period, young Tunisians now have an opportunity to realise their dreams.
Leila: “They see this project as a rare opportunity for them and the young people in their community to gain material well-being as well as artistic satisfaction. Joy, dreams and hope are the words that are often mentioned by young people when they talk about Dream’s Chebeb.”
Exist in the midst of drama and chaos
As everywhere in the world, the coronavirus has had a big impact on the cultural and artistic sector. Dream’s Chebeb has not been spared and has had to cancel parts of the programme. Nonetheless, Resist’Art was able to host the second edition of the Dreams’ Chebeb programme in 2020/2021.
“It is always possible and I would even say vital to be creative. Art must find its raison d’être, the nobility of its role in the harshest crises, and it must exist in the midst of drama and chaos.”
For Leila, it’s essential to keep creating and not let art, in the face of the crisis, only exist in a digital form.
“Art will no longer be what it is if it leaves the stage to go to virtual platforms, if it finds itself cloistered behind a screen and no longer catches the eye of an audience. Now, more than ever, the act of creating is an act of resistance, and creators are called upon to lead this fight.”
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Proudly looking forward
When asked, Leila is proud of the person and artist she has remained through it all, without concessions when it comes to dignity, tolerance and freedom. But of course, she is most proud when she thinks of the stories of the young and talented people she works with.
“I often think of the 18-year-old girl who lives in Sidi Bouzid and walks 15 km to attend rehearsals. On the day of the first public performance, she embraced me tearfully and said ‘Thank you, you have given me a reason to live’."
The second edition of Dream’s Chebeb gave rise to 15 selected projects. You can meet the makers on the website.
With the support of the DOEN Foundation, Leila is already looking forward to the third edition.
“The Dream’s Chebeb project would never have been possible without the support of DOEN. Figuratively speaking, DOEN is like a true friend who stays by your side, to walk hand in hand towards the realisation of a beautiful dream. Now we can focus on the most important objective: to see a third edition materialise and, above all, to achieve our goal of 24 projects in the 24 governorates of Tunisia and thus reach a greater number of young people.”