Thursday, May 1, 2014


"Strands of thought" run through my work/play: the Garden, the political situation, war and chaos and the abstract, among others. Lately, a gate series has developed that falls into several categories. The first gate I commemorated in my textile sketchbook was to celebrate my saving it from destruction by rust.
Wrought iron gates are common in the region, with interesting decorative details.

The front gate, which I can see from my kitchen door, has been a subject recently for my sketch book.

Some days time evaporates, so I used a prepared paper with a green wash providing a background for a quick sketch.

Then over at Sketchbook School, we started looking at skies. One day I could actually see clouds above the gate. Isn't that pretty? All very bucolic...but something was boiling below the surface.

I decided to do a page for my textile sketchbook to finish off this series.

I first glued fabric onto a page of drawing paper, then I sketched the gate and trees.    

As I zoomed away on my sewing machine, I thought about the meaning of gates: a delineation of property, marking of borders, stopping people from entering (especially thieves) and allowing only friends through. Suddenly I understood what this was all about. The problem:
Thirty years ago, the land was wide open and looked like this:
Mornag was a peaceful place. Nobody needed gates or walls. Today, this agricultural zone is being over run (the small trees mark my property line): 
Look at that beautiful blue sky and fresh green...and that eyesore. The owners said they were going to build a house and have a garden/orchard, but instead they erected two buildings for industrial refrigeration (about 18 to 20 feet tall) within a stone's throw of my house. EXCUSE ME, THIS IS AGRICULTURAL LAND!

This is what the "Revolution" brought us: unauthorized construction allowed by local authorities that will destroy the region. We have alerted the authorities who have put out an order for demolition. However, when I went to talk with the governor of Ben Arous (recorded in my sketchbook)
he pointed out that "Now, there is no executive." We're in free fall. So the neighbors keep working to finish off the construction, which means the giant motors required for the refrigeration will soon be running night and day. Worse yet, a problem with rotten fruit, foul odors, and increased quantities of insects that attack citrus fruit will destroy our peace and put our orchards at high risk. We are now embroiled in a legal battle to keep this region from sinking into an industrial zone and to protect the farms.

I realize that this is an international problem, that humans are destroying the Garden, our Planet. 
And yet, we will continue to fight for what is right. 
We must stand at the gates and stop them. 
We have become gatekeepers. 
We will do our best to protect the region until we can no longer. 
I will do my best to keep this filth out.


The Idaho Beauty said...

I cringe at the thought of what you'll be living with if your new neighbors get up & running. I once lived Kitty corner to a grocery store, its loading dock visable from our bedroom window. We soon discovered that trucks would pull up to the dock during the night & leave the engine running, making it hard to sleep esp in warm weather when we'd leave the window open. We complained to management who explained it wasn't the truck engine running but the refrigeration units which could not be shut off. So we just had to figure out how to live with it. Eventually we moved but that is not an option for you. Good luck in guarding the gates.

Radka said...

Very, very good post, Nadia.
Oh, dear, how many gates do we need?
I wish you luck, it sounds like you will need it.

Ann X said...

Your post made me really sad as whatewer we do, we'll lose this battle. Sometimes I think that ants have more humanity in them than humans. We are such a greedy, irresponsible creeps, ruining everthing we touch. And I can't find a hope and feel sorry for the world my children and grandchildren will be living.

Janet M. Atwill said...

Oh Nadia, what a moving post. I could tell some stories about your gates. Foolishly, I never considered the environmental impact on your orchard of the monstrosity next door. "Tunisia" does so many things right. It needs to do some right things really quickly about this zoning issue. One would think at this time of life you and Mohamed could take a break and savor the victories of “fighting the good fight” as long as you have. Your post has helped me understand some things about this time of life. Perhaps every generation reckons in a similar way with its hopes and struggles. I don’t believe you will lose battle. I just sorry you have to fight it.

Cate Rose said...

I'm so sorry, Nadia...

Suzanna said...

Oh Nadia...courage! Your post is so eloquent about the reality there...I'm grateful to know how it is, even as I wish it were different for your sake...

Ann said...

A very poignant and sad story... :-( It is the first thing I have read today... I feel for you and for the beautiful land that you have enriched with your presence, your beautiful gardens (which lured me to your website originally)..... This is unacceptable!

I hope and pray that things will change... keep fighting! Perhaps your neighbors can also join in, also.... You have such a beautiful place!

Carol said...

It is so sad we live in a world and time when a hand shake no longer solidifies a promise, and the judicial system is not for the people that voted them in. The system and its leaders no longer have integrity and cannot be trusted.
Praying the situation will work out to your good.

Diane J. Evans said...

Nadia -- your stewardship will not go unrewarded. Your story has touched me deeply, and I pray that you continue to have the strength to fight this good fight. We will never appreciate what we have in this world until it is gone. The words of Joni Mitchell's song, "Big Yellow Taxi," kept running through my head as I read your post: "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." May we cease and desist this awful behavior before it's too late.

Peace, my friend.


Teresa Duryea Wong said...

Nadia: This is terrible news, but you have written this in such a moving way. I am so sorry for all that you personally are going through, but also what your whole country is going through. Have you ever considered writing a book about your experiences and about making art during a modern revolution? I am certain there is a story in there and it would be of interest to people in the West (and would sell!). Think of the illustrations you could do. This is a serious suggestion, by the way. From Teresa

Mo Crow said...

Oh! Oh! Nadia, thank you for bearing witness, for your vigilance, for your words and images, we are all the eyes and hands helping our beauitul planet Gaia. said...

J'adore votre travail. Amitiés de France.