Under the Skin: Feminist Art and Art Histories from the Middle East and North Africa Today

ISBN : 9780197266748

Ceren OEzpinar; Mary Kelly
240 Pages
189 x 246 mm
Pub date
Sep 2020
Proceedings of the British Academy
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Under the Skin: Feminist Art and Art Histories from the Middle East and North Africa Today is set out to show what is beneath the surface, under the appearances of skin, body, colour and provenance, and not the cultural fixities or partial views detached from the realities of communities, cultures and practices from the area. Through 12 chapters, Under the Skin brings together artistic practices and complex histories informed by feminisms from diverse cultural and geographical contexts: Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. The aim is not to represent all of the countries from the Middle East and North Africa, but to present a cross-section that reflects the variety of nations, cultures, languages and identities across the area-including those of Berber, Mizrahi Jews, Kurdish, Muslim, Christian, Arab, Persian and Armenian peoples. It thus considers art informed by feminisms through translocal and transnational lenses of diverse ethnic, linguistic and religious groups not solely as a manifestation of multiple and complex social constructions, but also as a crucial subject of analysis in the project of decolonising art history and contemporary visual culture. The volume offers an understanding on how art responds to and shapes cultural attitudes towards gender and sexuality, ethnicity/race, religion, tradition, modernity and contemporaneity, and local and global politics. And it strives to strike a balance by connecting the studies of scholars based in the European-North American geography with those attached to the institutions in the Middle East and North Africa in order to stimulate different feminist and decolonial perspectives and debates on art and visual culture from the area.


List of Figures
Note on Contributors
Agency and Resistance to National and Global Discourses
1 NADINE ATALLAH: Have There Really Been No Great Women Artists? Writing a Feminist Art History of Modern Egypt
2 CHARLOTTE BANK: Feminism and Social Critique in Syrian Contemporary Art
3 TAL DEKEL: Hyphenated. Transnational Feminism in Contemporary Israeli Art: Between Mizrahi and Arab Identities
4 LINA M. KATTAN: The Moment of Change: Thematic Strands of Contemporary Saudi Women's Art
Translating Ethnicity and Subjectivity into Art
5 SOMAYEH NOORI SHIRAZI: The Articulating-self Inside Out: Katayoun Karami and Becoming a Woman
6 ISABELLE DE LE COURT: Squares of Colour: Abstraction in The Work of Saloua Raouda Choucair and Etel Adnan
7 HOLIDAY POWERS: Transmission as Resistance in The Work of Zineb Sedira
8 AKILA KIZZI: Indigenous Algerian Women Artists in The French Landscape: Baya Mahieddine and Taos Amrouche
Methods and Strategies to See Politics and Practices Differently
9 JESSICA GERSCHULTZ: Notes on Tending Feminist Methodologies
10 RACHEL NELSON: On Perpetual Conflict
11 CEREN OZPINAR: Claims to Fame: An Exhibition of Women Artists from Turkey
12 MARY KELLY: Locating the First Sculptural Mark: An Artist Interview with Diana Al-Hadid

About the author: 

Dr Ceren Ozpinar is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton, History of Art and Design Programme. She was previously a British Academy Newton International Fellow at the University of Sussex (2015-17). Dr Ozpinar's research focuses on contemporary art, art historiography, and feminist art and art histories since 1960 with a special interest in Turkey and the Middle East. Her first monograph, The Art Historiography in Turkey (1970-2010) was published in 2016, and the next, entitled Politics of Writing Art Histories: Narratives of Contemporary Art, Feminism and Women Artists from Turkey, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2021.; Dr Mary Kelly (nee Healy) is a Lecturer in Contemporary Art History, Theory and Gallery Studies & Director of the MA in Global Gallery Studies at University College Cork, Ireland. She is also a Research Associate at the Centre for Gender and Women's Studies, Trinity College Dublin. She is an Irish Research Council Awardee and a Fulbright Scholar. Dr Kelly's research and teaching employ a comparative discourse analysis which bridges European Orientalism and postcolonial theories; women's art and feminisms; contemporary art from the Middle East and North Africa, and the role of fine art galleries in societies. Her publications include invited chapters with the British Museum (2019); journal articles published in Cultural & Social History (2018) and Women Studies (2015); and her forthcoming monograph is entitled French Women Orientalist Artists, 1861-1956: Cross-cultural Contacts and Depictions of Difference (Ashgate, Taylor & Francis).

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