Towards a Plural Aesthetic in the Maghreb


  • Mounira ben Mustapha Hachana



aesthetics, contemporary art world, cosmopolitan, plural, identity, Maghreb, singularity


The study and interpretation of the art of the modern and contemporary Maghreb is a developing field, in terms of artistic production, exhibition, marketing, and theoretical discourse. In recent years, artists of North Africa and the Middle East have achieved great visibility on the international scene, even as they suffer from many lacks, including the structures of art production, and critical discourses, and theoretical approaches. The principal aim of this paper is to avoid the radar screen of the western world and to think about the specificity of this region, such as a possible world of contemporary art.  We can consider these artists and artworks beyond the cliché image repertoires of terrorism and tourism, Orientalism and clandestine migration that dominate most representations of the Maghreb. We want to explore visual art, and its dynamic, not by describing movements or putting together a chronology, but by guiding many reflections about the relation between theory and practice in this specific geographic area. This paper will address key points of the problems of terminology: the problematic use of such terms as Modern Islamic Art and the frequent application of the terms Modern and Contemporary without sufficient acknowledgment of their contextual connotation. It will examine the recent developments in art practice in the Maghreb and its diaspora and their wider context, analyzing the impact of globalization and other transnational cultural and social links.


Article received: December 23, 2019; Article accepted: January 31, 2020; Published online: April 15, 2020; Review article

Author Biography

Mounira ben Mustapha Hachana

Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, University of Tunis


Mounira ben Mustapha Hachana, Ph.D., professor of aesthetics and philosophy of art at the University of Tunis, President of the Tunisian Society of Aesthetics [Association Tunisienne d’Esthétique et de Poiétique ATEP]. Member of the scientific committee of UNESCO Chair for the Arab World, and director of the research project in the Laboratoire Philab (cultures, technologies and philosophical approaches), member of the committee of the redaction of the Tunisian review for aesthetic studies. Major publications: Aesthetics and critics in the thought of Jürgen Habermas (in Arabic, Al Wassitti, 2011); Art et experience communicationnelle (Tunis, CPU, 2013); Habermas, sens et enjeux de la rationalité communicationnelle (Edition of the Faculty of Humanities, Tunis, 2017); The problem of value in the contemporary aesthetic experience (in Arabic, Al Wassiti, 2018). She’s also the author of many articles (in French and Arabic) concerning the fields of contemporary aesthetics, critical theory and communication.


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How to Cite

ben Mustapha Hachana, M. (2020). Towards a Plural Aesthetic in the Maghreb. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (21), 13–19.