Cheffi's studio is in the experimental art space B7L9, where she will present a solo show next year.

An Artist in Tunis.Dora Dalila Cheffi is building her reputation, and her home, in the Tunisian capital.

An Artist in Tunis.Dora Dalila Cheffi is building her reputation, and her home, in the Tunisian capital.

Issue 41

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Arts & Culture

  • Words Layli Foroudi
  • Photography Yoann Cimier

Dora Dalila Cheffi sees her art—whether painting, filmmaking or sculpting—as learning. The Finnish-Tunisian artist grew up in Helsinki, and only knew Tunisia through childhood summer visits to her father’s side of the family in Sfax, an industrial port town. In 2018, at the age of 28, she relocated to Tunis after graduating from art school. She wanted to connect with her father’s country—although he himself wasn’t initially thrilled with the decision, as he didn’t see Tunisia as a place with many opportunities for success. 

But Cheffi has flourished here. As part of her artistic exploration, she hybridizes and inverts traditional materials and aesthetics, reinterpreting Tunisian scenes in wild colors in her paintings, and drawing on the heritage of Sejnane pottery in her ...

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