Academic Session 11: Loughborough 2017

43rd Annual Conference & Art Book Fair
Loughborough University
6th to 8th April 2017

Feminist Art Histories in the Middle East and North Africa


Ceren Ozpinar, University of Sussex,

Despite the global interrogation of patriarchal discourses in art since the late 1960s, feminist art history has not yet fully acknowledged the geographical and the temporal spaces outside the Euro-American map. Feminist art history, which can be called as ‘western’, ‘imperial’, or ‘normative’ as Marsha Meskimmon argues (2007), either in the form of an exhibition narrative or a scholarly book, tends to present a linear global narrative, which leaves out everything that do not fit into its temporal trajectory or the idea of progress. Feminist art in the Middle East and North Africa has been one of the least addressed practices in normative feminist art history. A few exceptions, including diaspora artists Nil Yalter (b.1938) and Shirin Neshat (b.1957), have been featured, though only to turn them into stereotypical representatives of feminist art outside Euro-America. While the very existence of these feminist art histories intervenes in the progressive narratives of normative feminist art history, they also have an impact upon both art historical temporality and feminism(s) at large.

This session consists of papers that seek to discuss feminist art histories and temporalities from the Middle East and North Africa, which investigate notions of sexuality and gender, while they interrupt patriarchal narratives, or present diverse understandings of feminism. Papers will explore new writing and reading strategies that displace both the canon of normative feminist art history and vernacular art histories that do not usually accommodate feminist art.

Click here to download a .pdf of this session's paper abstracts

Paniz Musawi Natanzi (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) Producing Afghan Visual Knowledges and Art-Producing Spaces in Kabul in Times of On-Going Insecurities and the Reconstruction of the Nation-State in Afghanistan

Eiman Elgibreen (Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University) Silenced by the Discourse: The question of feminist art in Saudi Arabia

Iris Gilad (Tel Aviv University) Closing the Distance: Revealing new feminist content and scholarly approaches through the translation of Mona Hatoum’s ‘Measures of Distance’

Nora Tataryan (University of Toronto) Feminist Utopias: An aesthetic approach to the Legacy of Catastrophe