Tunisian painter Rachid Allaqi (Anatolia)

Although he was born with color blindness, he chose "colors" as a way of life, and studied fine arts in Tunisia and Germany, he is the Tunisian Rachid Allaqi, who monitors the minutes of daily and popular life in Tunisia, and considers what he sees in his travels a "treasure" that remains within him.

Although he now lives in the upscale Metoileville district of Tunis, he keeps his own workshop in the popular Bab El Fella neighborhood south of the medina, where he was born in 1940, as well as a permanent gallery in Cologne, Germany, near the Rhine, where he went in 1961 to continue studying painting at the Academy of Fine Arts.

Everyday life is a fundamental theme

On the walls of his house are paintings that capture the subtleties of daily life in Tunisia, such as: the painting selling fish in the traditional way on the island of Djerba, southeast of Tunisia, the painting of the young bride in her traditional procession (from a city belonging to the province of Mahdia on the Mediterranean coast in eastern Tunisia), and another depicting a woman carrying a couscous bowl on her head (from a police officer of the saint saint Sidi Belhassen Chadli on the southern plateau overlooking the old city of Tunis).

Rachid Allaqi was influenced by growing up in the old Bab El Fella neighborhood in the Tunisian capital (Anatolia)

Bab Al-Fallah Al-Roots

Al-Allaqi returns to digging in the roots by referring to the Bab al-Fallah neighborhood and its impact on his artistic choices by saying: "I was actually influenced by Bab al-Fallah and I am the son of Bab al-Fella, and when I was young in our neighborhood, they used to sell prickly pears in the box and sell it peeled, and this is still until now, as well as selling al-Basisa (a popular Tunisian dish consisting of flour mixed of wheat, roasted legumes and nuts) and women prepare bread at home and carry it in dishes for the popular oven in the neighborhood."

"This popular life and popular authenticity dominated me and left me an artist who does not create nature, portraiture, bouquet of flowers or sea views, but creates works about what people are living now, not in previous centuries," he adds in a voice that reflects nostalgia for those days.

Rashid Al-Allaqi: Folk life and folk originality dominated me (Anatolia)

I'm the poet of feather.

"My job was to monitor what is happening in daily life, and after thinking about which artistic direction to choose between the artistic trends that emerged from the Stone Age to the 21st century, I chose, as a student of art and familiar with its origins, causes and all its schools, to become a poet not by writing but by feather," he said.

He shows that the painting when painted may remain years until it is completed, and plastic art is different from the book because the book must be read in its entirety to understand it, but the painting when the artist draws it and when you see it in a few minutes you understand it.

The artist Rachid Allaqi was the first Arab to study at the School of Fine Arts in Tunis (Anatolia)

Stations in memory

Al-Allaqi returns to the stage of beginnings in the fifties and sixties of the last century by saying: "I was the first Arab who studied at the School of Fine Arts in Tunis, and all my colleagues were French and foreigners, its director Pierre Bourgon is the one who made me passionate about art and loved me very much."

"The school principal gave me a small notebook and a charcoal pen, and ordered me to draw anything that came in my way, and I have remained that habit until today when I sit in a café and form a preliminary embodiment of the painting that I will paint later and immortalize the scene," he said.

Al-Allaqi keeps his own workshop in the popular neighborhood of Bab Al-Fella south of the old city (Anatolia)

Al-Allaqi mentioned his teacher at the School of Fine Arts, Henri Saadeh Tounsi from Gabes (southeast), as one of those who instilled in him a love of drawing and the search for daily life topics, and continued, "When I succeeded in my studies in 1958, he gave me a "Vespa" (a famous Italian motorcycle), so I went to Rome and toured the whole of Europe.

Al-Allaqi documents the work of some women in the markets (Anatolia)

Between two places. Tunisia and Germany

Allaqi says of the École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis, which he entered with the encouragement of his brother, the architect Khemaies Allaqi and graduated in 1958, and then went to Germany in 1961 to continue his studies of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cologne.

"I found professors who encouraged me and took all the scientific techniques of drawing, and after graduating I worked as a professor of drawing in several international institutes, and then I chose to establish my own gallery to work in Cologne, Germany," he says. In addition to his workshop in Tunisia.

Al-Allaqi has a permanent portico in Cologne close to the Rhine (Anatolia)

The beginning. Against color blindness

"I was born with color blindness, but the profession and talent are in the heart, not in the eyes, I overcame this injury and chose the path of fine arts," he said.

"I have a problem with colors that I do not see, such as red and blue, between kohl (navy) and red, and in Germany it is difficult to put yellow next to kohl or red next to blue, I was encouraged and put it together, and this gave me a special dye in Germany," he explained.

(Color blindness is usually inherited.

Each color has a language, white for joy, blue for hope, yellow for estrangement, red for love, black for anger (Anatolia).

He considers that Tunisia's website influenced his choice of colors despite his color blindness: "I was born in the Mediterranean, and it has the colors of orange and jasmine, and the primary colors are white, dark (navy), red, blue and yellow."

He pointed out that every color has a language, white for joy, blue for hope, yellow for estrangement, red for love, and black for anger.

"We are the country of the sun, more than 300 sunny days in Tunisia a year, but in Germany everything is gray, the people, the buildings and the clouds are gray, and I was working on a combination of how to get there to find a topic that connects Tunisia and Germany," he said.

In Germany, there is a strong competition between artists, so I choose to embody themes from the heart of life (Anatolia).

Conflict of roots

On his experience in Germany, Al-Allaqi says, "In Germany, there is a strong competition between artists, so the question was what topic I choose and what color I choose, and it was a battle between European artistic civilization and my Tunisian roots, so I chose to embody topics from the heart of life, what falls into it and how people live."

"Germany has its history, origins and traditions, in Cologne there is a festival and a carnival attended by about 3 million people and we see how people are associated with a festival that is more than a century old and people compete in how to stand out with everyday decorations, and this catches my attention and I embody it in paintings," he said.

The life of the Turks in Germany caught the attention of Al-Alaki, especially the women's adherence to the garrita, the traditional headdress (Anatolia).

Turkey is also a source of inspiration

He does not forget what he saw in Italy and Turkey, especially the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and the markets of Istanbul, recalling the markets of Tunisia, and the food in restaurants has a special character as they bring you one dish with everything.

The life of the Turks in Germany drew the attention of Al-Allaqi, especially the adherence of women to tradition until now using the taqrita (traditional headdress), although they wear modern clothing, but the taqrita is present and was the subject of some of his paintings.

Source : Anadolu Agency