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Modern and contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa

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Modern and contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa
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  Modern and contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa Gepost in 'Oriëntalisme' (naar de notie van Edward Said), Arabische wereld, articles in English, artikelen die ook elders gepubliceerd zijn, Democratisering en mensenrechten in de Arabische wereld en het Midden Oosten (Arabische lente), Diversity & Art (begeleidende teksten exposities), hedendaagse kunst, hedendaagse kunst Arabische wereld, hedendaagse kunst Irak , Iraakse kunstenaars, Irak , Israël/Palestina, kunst, kunstenaars uit Arabische landen in Nederland, Midden Oosten, Midden oosten conflict, moderne kunst Irak , niet-westerse hedendaagse kunst,  اذٌ   ف   ٍبع   لد   يه   ىًٌف ,  ثذا   قاا   يا  door Floris Schreve op 21 mei 2011 Bewerken  ن  و   يبعل ملاعل يف   صاعل هل Since the recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt and probably to follow in other Arab countries, even the mainstream media have noticed that in the Arab world and Iran there is a desire for freedom and democracy. While in the Western World often reduced to essentialist clichés of the traditional Arab or the Muslim extremists the recent events show the opposite. The orientalist paradigm, as Edward Said  has defined in 1978, or even the „neo - orientalist‟ version (according to Salah Hassan), virulent since 9 / 11, are denounced by the images of Arab satellite channels like Al Jazeera. It proofs that there are definitely progressive and freedom-loving forces in the Middle East, as nowadays becomes visible for the whole world.    Wafaa Bilal (Iraq, US), from his project ‟Domestic Tension‟, 2007 (see for more http://wafaabilal.com/html/domesticTension.html ) Since the last few years there is an increasing interest in contemporary art from that region. Artists such as Mona Hatoum (Palestine), Shirin Neshat (Iran) and the architect Zaha Hadid  (Iraq) were already visible in the international art circuit. Since the last five to ten years there are a number of names added, like Ghada Amer  (Egypt), Akram Zaatari and  Walid Ra‟ad  (Lebanon), Fareed Armaly and Emily Jacir  (Palestine), Mounir Fatmi (Morocco), Farhad Mosheri ( Iran), Ahmed Mater  (Saudi Arabia), Mohammed al- Shammerey and Wafaa Bilal  (Iraq). Most of these artists are working and living in the Western World.    Walid Ra‟ad/The Atlas Group (Lebanon), see  http://www.theatlasgroup.org/index.html, at Documenta 11, Kassel, 2002 Mounir Fatmi (Morocco), The Connections , installation, 2003  –   2009, see http://www.mounirfatmi.com/2installation/connexions01.html  Yet the phenomenon of modern and contemporary art in the Middle East isn‟t something of last decades. From the end of World War I, when most Arab countries arose in its present form, artists in several countries have sought manners to create their own form of international modernism. Important pioneers were Mahmud Mukhtar  (since the twenties and thirties in Egypt), Jewad Selim (forties and fifties in Iraq), or  Muhammad Melehi and Farid Belkahia (from the sixties in Morocco). These artists were the first who, having been trained mostly in the West, introduced modernist styles in their homeland. Since that time, artists in several Arab countries draw inspiration from both international modernism, and from traditions of their own cultural heritage.   Shakir Hassan al-Said (Iraq), Objective Contemplations , oil on board, 1984, see http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/nafas/articles/2008/shakir_hassan_al_said/photos/08   Ali Omar Ermes (Lybia/UK),  Fa , Ink and acryl on paper The latter was not something noncommittal. In the decolonization process, the artists often explicitly took a stand against western colonialism. Increasing local traditions here was used often as a strategy. From the late sixties also other factors play a role. “Pan - Arabism” or even the search for a “Pan - Islamic identity” had an impact on the arts. This is obvious in what the French Moroccan art historian Brahim Alaoui called „l‟ Ecole de Signe‟, the „school of sign‟. Abstract calligraphy and decorative traditions of Islamic art, were in many variations combined with contemporary abstract art. The main representatives of this unique tendency of modern Islamic art were Shakir Hassan al-Said (Iraq, deceased in 2004), and the still very active artists as Rachid Koraichi (Algeria, lives and works in France), Ali Omar Ermes (Libya, lives and works in England) and Wijdan Ali (Jordan). This direction found even a three dimensional variant, in the sculptures of the Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli. 
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