Yahia Turki

Turkish born artist Yahia Turki, is considered to be one of the most significant painters of his time working in Tunisia, he was often hailed as the “father of Tunisian painting”. Following the independence of Tunisia, he became the president of Ecole de Tunis, which was founded as an assembly for artists with the intention of identifying and establishing a Tunisian style of painting. Starting out as a self-taught artist, in 1923 Turki was invited to participate in the Tunisian Salon, this marked a critical event in the artist's career, propelling him to recognition. Following this, the artist pursued his studies in Paris, through a scholarship, spending the years between 1927 and 1928 in France. During this time, he was able to develop his technique and style. Coinciding with this period, he participated in the Colonial Exhibition of French Artists, and the Salon des Indépendants, which included the works influential figures such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Cézanne and Vincent Van Gogh. Turki left a great impression as a young painter in such a significant event, in his attempt to "reconcile Tunisian national identity within an inherited system of artistic practices". His architectural spaces, landscapes, still lifes, and portraits depict the everyday life of Tunisia. In the 1950s he worked on murals at the École d’Agriculture de Moghrane, through his teaching, he had a role in developing the future generation of artists in Tunisia, which consequently reinforced Ecole de Tunis in providing a critical role to encouraging an original expression in Tunisian artistic production.