Peter DeFrancia Bombing Sakiet

Peter De Franciaa
The Bombing of Sakiet 1959
Oil on canvas
Lent by the Tunisian Embassy

The radically different world that followed the end of the Second World War, brought the dissolution of European imperial power. French dominion was relinquished over Morocco and Tunisia relatively smoothly, but a far more complex situation developed in neighbouring Algeria.

This painting captures the uproar that followed the French bombing of the Tunisian village of Sakiet-Sidi-Youssef, ostensibly in retaliation for Tunisian support of Algerian independence. It can be seen as a political work ‘between cultures’, engaged in the deconstruction of European colonialism. It also represents all innocent victims of conflict in scenes that remain familiar today.

Is Peter de Francia’s Bombing of Sakiet 1959 a portrayal of individual human suffering or of a clash of cultures?