Ammar Farhat

Ammar Farhat (Tunisia, 1911 – 1987) was born in Béja and orphaned at the age of five, Farhat is a self-taught painter who began his art career at age fifteen by making portraits in cafés and was discovered at the 1937 Tunisian Salon. He quickly became one of Tunisia’s most important modern artists. His first solo exhibition was held in 1940, and he later joined other young artists of his generation who formed the École de Tunis in 1948. His talent was quickly recognized with the Prize of the Young Tunisian painting at the 1949 Tunisian Salon, allowing him to travel to Paris. Farhat’s figurative paintings depict vivid scenes from the everyday lives of Tunisia’s rural working class such as tattooed old women, wedding ceremonies, musicians, and dancers; all miserable but cheerful people with a rare freshness. In 1984, he won the National Art Prize and a cultural center in his hometown of Béja that was named after him.