Maia Stefana Oprea

First time in Africa – TUNISIA

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The International Festival of Arts in Monastir, Tunisia, now in its 12th edition, took place from the 1st to the 12th of September 2014,

with the proposed theme:  “In Search of Light”.

The festival is organised by the Abam Association (

and is under the auspices of the Tunisian Ministry of Culture and Cultural Regional Commissioner of Monastir.

This year 80 artists were invited: professionals, academics and students in the arts, participants from 20 countries (including France, Germany, USA, India, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Austria, England, Morocco, Turkey, and others).

The Monastir Palm Tree Hotel room and balcony became for 2 weeks my temporary studio :

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I’ve realised numerous sketches that I used afterwards in my painting compositions. The works that I have done in the International Festival of Arts in Monastir are entitled” مايا “(” Maia “, my name translated into Arabic meaning ” water “), is closely related to my greatest passion – swimming, my first experience of painting underwater in the Mediterranean, as well as the marine animal elements found in mosaics of El Jem, the Bardo Museum (Tunis), on the Bourguiba Palace’s frescoes. Under the influence of Tunisian culture and art I will realise another artistic project  and exhibition that is based on the idea of water, water as a primary substance, as the receptacle of all germs, of which all forms are born and where all return. This exhibition should take place in April 2015 in the Tunis capital.


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I was honoured to be invited by the Abam Association to have a solo exhibition at Cap Marina Monastir Gallery:


I was also invited to attend an underwater painting workshop, which was one of the most amazing experiences !  it’s funny. Ok. But painting underwater was one of the best experiences and it really is inspiring, in the sense that you feel your whole body differently: heavy, swollen, the body of another, dispersed. The need to paint something from ‘inside-out’ is exacerbated. To be continued, sometime, with a larger canvas !

The Festival aims include the establishment of a Museum of Fine Arts in Monastir, the museum will host the already over 1,000 paintings by over 55 international artists during previous editions of the festival. During the Monastir Art Festival I visited many cities and museums which inspired me greatly, among which were :

Thanks to some Monastir Hotels  I have received 2 commissions of hotel panoramas, which wonderfully financed my whole trip !

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Summing up such an amazing experience is very difficult and the Tunisia photo-documentation that I have is extremely diverse, but what I remember most vividly are the circular shapes that the fishermen leave on the beaches, as well as other similar forms found in cemetery and along the roads…. They are part of my Portable Series :

Tunisia 37Tunisia 36 Tunisia 44 Tunisia 31 Tunisia 28


Author: maiastefana

Visual Artist portfolio: available artworks: blog:

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