A bit of history :
The house was built between 1887 and 1908 by a Frenchman, named Alain Fournials a native from Abresle, who gave this name to the property. M. Fournials, fascinated by the oriental gardens, tried to reproduce in his garden an oriental orchard. He planted three grenadiers coming from Gabes, an olive tree, a fruitful palm tree, a loquat tree and other lush southern plants still present after more than 100 years.
Mr. Fournials died in 1927 and the house was ceded to the religious association Louise de Marillac whose vocation was the accompaniment of the elderly. The charity constructed a chapel which sheltered a Roman altar until 1971 before it was offered to the church of Tunis.
In 1951, the association of Louise de Marillac decided to leave Tunisia and the property was ceded to the « petites sœurs de jesus » of Charles de Foucault. The convent was then dedicated to the contemplation and community life. 11 sisters lived there autonomously thanks to fruits and vegetables they grew themselves in the garden.
In 1970 the number of sisters dropped down to 4 because of numerous deaths. They decided to do as did their spiritual leader De Foucault in his living and left the city to live in the desert of El Faouar, a hermitage with a contemplative vocation. They were succeeded in the convent by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition whose task was to organize a tutoring for the benefit of the younglings in the surroundings. Nowadays, School support classes for neighborhood children are still given free of charge in the library right next to the residence.
The residence comprises :
2 kitchens : one in the ground floor with direct access to the garden and one in the first level, closer and easier to access to residents.
2 bathrooms and 1 water closet
6 rooms with different atmospheres and decorations : Berber style, vegetal decoration, Tunisian style and also 30’s …
A chapel revamped into a workshop
An office/workshop in the first level
Three shared spaces : oriental living room in the first level, Tunisian living room in the gound level and a reading space
The garden, with its banana tree, hundred year old pomegranate trees and numerous fruit trees, offers peace and quiet in the heart of the downtown. You can also seek for lonesomeness on the flat roof overlooking the entire medina.
Dar Meso offers each artist a room with storage space and a personal workspace. Artists will have a co-working space within the chapel.
The workshop is equipped with the basic tools for handiwork as well as other special tools...
We are a belgo-tunisian couple in their thirties :
Youssef Ettourjoumene :
Energy engineer from Tunis, I worked for 10 years on a purely technical aspect in the field of energy and currently facilitator and advisor in networking. I love to tinker, garden and live on simple things and am especially fond of arts and music in particular. i like cultural exchanges and debates and am born to serve others. this residency is two dreams come true in a single project, supporting the artists to enjoy the fruits of their creation.
Originally from the south of Brussels and a graduate in cinematographic techniques. I discovered Tunisia in 2010 while working as a production and director assistant on a documentary. Since then I have multiplied experiences in this country and elsewhere; journalism, communication and direction advisor. I am currently working on writing a fiction movie. I am passionate about art in general, travel and DIY. Since I was a teenager, I dreamt of a project that would combine simple life, art and community life. I finally decided to launch this project in Tunisia to become a pioneer in the country's cultural life development and to create bridges between European, African and Arab cultures.
Our mission :
Our core purpose is to promote artists whether professional or fledgling by offering them a change in scenery boosting inspiration, spaces for production and cultural merging experiences.
The artist will be autonomus in his creation, Dar MESO will provide tenants with an environment that offers tranquility, change and contemplation to foster innovation, an array of work spaces (shared and isolated) to enable creation, and a return to nature within a rustic and talkative surroundings in the very heart of the city.
We work in collaboration with the Belgian association "Indignatus Production ASBL" which helps the artists to develop and give life to their projects.