Hend Krichen exhibited with Designersblock at the Southbank Centre in September 2012, since then we have also shown her work at Interiors 2013 at the NEC in Birmingham as well as at the Pitfield store in Shoreditch. Recently she has been working on the project Tunisia Made.
Tunisia Made has been a journey that explores the relationship between traditional crafts in Tunisia throughout history and the turmoil of recent political events, culminating in the Revolution of January 2011.
On 10th April 2012 Amamou Salah, Head of the National Handicrafts League in Tunisia, sent a timely letter to the country’s newly elected post revolution prime minister, Hamadi Jabali, detailing how twenty three years of pre-revolution corruption had sent the craft industries into wholesale decline. Up until 1996 these industries were still the country’s largest employer. It also detailed proposals to revive this situation, including a call for greater involvement from graduate artists and designers in determining a new future. With greater freedom of speech and expression, the time is ripe for exploring a new cultural identity.
The Tunisian, London based designer; Hend Krichen is working on a project that ties in closely with the spirits of Salah’s proposals by actively addressing the re-invigoration of these culturally and economically important industries. Tunisia Made is a series of homeware accessories ranging from watering jugs, coasters, vases, kitchen jars and bathroom and kitchen fabrics that are designed with a UK market in mind, however utilizing the traditional craft platform that is widely available in Tunisia.
Krichen has been leading this project along with experts in the arts and crafts field in Tunisia and manufacturers that specialize in different disciplines. She has chosen to work in different parts of the country focusing on rural towns in order to utilize an authentic crafts manufacturing platform. This ensures a true traditional product that has a modern twist for her target market as well as creating a network of manufacturers providing them with jobs and an opportunity to learn, develop and sell their trade with a greater purpose.
This project requires constant dialogue with the manufactures to ensure that they have an invested interest in maintaining the ideals and processes that they are accustomed to. The process is fluid and self-generating and this allows Tunisia Made to embrace the traditional crafts techniques that have been around for centuries or otherwise could lead to extinction. The essence of the project is to celebrate and transcend Tunisia’s craft history and heritage as well as bring it to the 21st Century.
Look out here for updated as we hope to show the results of this project sometime soon.