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Story Publication logo October 6, 2011

Showing It Off: Libya's Artists Display Work After Qaddafi

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Image by Ellen Knickmeyer. Tunisia, 2011.
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Ellen Knickmeyer has been traveling the Arab world from the first weeks of the revolutions to tell...

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While arts and artisanal crafts managed to survive and even thrive in some of the other Arab dictatorships, as long as artists avoided political statements, in Libya art all but died under Muammar Qaddafi, Libyans say. One of the few art shows Libyans remember ever hearing about was for Saif al-Islam, Qaddafi's not notably talented son.

Over the past few weeks, Karim Namssi and his friends have used word of mouth to track down young Libyans who, unencouraged, make art–even though little of their work has ever been seen beyond their living room or bedroom walls.

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