Cette semaine, cap vers un pays baigné par le soleil, la Tunisie. Un pays cher à la jeune artiste finlandaise-tunisienne, Dora Dalila Cheffi, qui l’accueille depuis 2018 et l’inspire au quotidien. La rue, son entourage, les moments de son quotidien, la ville sont des sources d'inspirations essentielles et continuelles pour ses peintures. C’est une vision personnelle qu’elle nous livre à travers ses œuvres. Celle d’une nouvelle arrivée, émerveillée par la culture, les couleurs, les habitudes d’une région qu’elle fréquentait en vacances dans sa jeunesse.
Dora Dalila Cheffi nous emmène dans sa Tunisie, celle aux coloris chauds et lumineux. Dora Dalila Cheffi nous révèle la beauté des choses simples de la vie !
Could you introduce yourself?
Finnish-Tunisian artist Dora Dalila Cheffi was born in Helsinki in 1990, and currently lives and works in Tunis, Tunisia. She graduated with a BA from Aalto University School of Art, Design, and Architecture in 2018, with a minor in sculpting and painting, and from Pekka Halonen Academy in 2014 with a concentration in photography. Her works have been included in group exhibitions at institutions and fairs including Habitare, 2018; Gallery Kajaste Helsinki, 2018; Dipoli Gallery, Helsinki 2018; Kalleria Gallery, Helsinki 2018; and Cable Factory, 2014. Her first solo exhibition Bitter Oranges occured in Tunis in February 2020. Her artworks are part of the Kamel Lazaar Foundation collection as well as private collections in Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam, Zurich, Tunis, Paris, Amman, and Helsinki. She has been part of the Helsinki Art Society since 2018.
Your paintings represent mostly interiors, elements of your daily life. Where does this interest, this attraction for these everyday subjects come from?
I'm a person who tends to get bored easily but at the same time appreciates stability and routines. That's why I have to make my everyday life an adventure, see the little things and be inspired by them, cause if I didn't – I'd be terribly restless.
The colours you use are vivid, strong and flat. What do they bring to the scenes you represent? What is your relationship to colour?
I think one of the reasons for these lavishing colours is the fact that I live and work in Tunisia. The light here just makes me want to paint everything bright. But I've always enjoyed mixing colors and finding the right balance between them. I don't really know why or where it comes from, I guess it's just something that exists inside me. I love manipulating the image with colors. Lately I've been making portraits for my new series called Screenshots of Novel Realities. It's crazy how many tones can be painted as skin color.
What are your main inspirations?
You now live in Tunis. Has this change of place of living modified your way of painting? (from the point of view of the light or the subjects you represent for example)
I'm sure since moving here from "outside" I look at things that people have looked at all their life and see them a bit differently. That's only normal. Whenever someone visits Finland they see things that I haven't paid attention before because it's always been these. So actually it's interesting to see when I eventually spend some time somewhere else how the paintings change.
Your work also extends to ceramics. How does your creative process take place? Do you work the same way with painting and ceramics?
Ceramics have taught me an enormous amount of patience. This is something I didn't used to have so much but since working with clay and understanding the long and complicated (yet simple) process of it and that's why I love working with that technique. I'm not a ceramicist but sometimes I have an idea that would be great to do with clay so then I just go ahead and do it. I'm not too fussy about techniques cause I feel like it's more about the idea behind it than perfectly mastering a technique. That's just my way of working in general.
What are your future projects?
I have an online show opening in a few days with Andersen's Contemporary. They have this online exhibition room called The Other Space and my new series 'Screenshots of Novel Realities' is featured on it on the 20th of June. After that I'm going to enjoy the summer and go back to having long breakfasts and to days of walking aimlessly then hopefully when I've done enough of that I can go back to work and try to recreate those moments.
Toutes les oeuvres de Dora Dalila Cheffi sont sur son site: