The Egyptian art world is the oldest and largest in the Arab Middle East. Its artists must reckon with the histories of ancient Egypt, European modernism, anti-colonial nationalism, and state socialism-all in the context of a growing neoliberal economy marked by American global dominance. At this crucial intersection of culture, politics, and economy, Egypt's art and artists provide unique insight into current struggles for cultural identity and sovereignty in the Middle East. This book examines the heated cultural politics in today's Arab world, and tells how art-making has become an unexpectedly central part of that. It offers a lively analysis of the battles between artists, curators, and audiences over cultural authenticity, cultural policy, public art in a changing urban Egypt, and the new global marketing of Egyptian art. The art world it shows powerfully exemplifies how people in the Middle East reckon with global transformations that are changing how culture is made in societies with colonial and socialist pasts.
A book that highlights the enduring talent of a group of contemporary Iraqi artists who are united in their experience of exile. Modern Iraqi art represents one of the main foundation stones of modern Arab culture. As with Iran, modern and contemporary culture in Iraq draws heavily on its rich pre-Islamic and Islamic heritage, from the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian civilizations through to Ottoman Baghdad, the Iraq of the Baath Party, and today a country that has been ravaged by foreign invasion. In the 1970s, Baghdad was at the center of a pan-Arab art movement. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, it became clear that the art movement was becoming a political tool of propaganda for the Baath Party. Forced to work within the parameters set by the government, a number of leading artists decided to leave Iraq for Europe and North America. Today, a new generation of Iraqi artists is receiving much-deserved international acclaim. Their art draws increasing attention from international seasoned collectors and is at the forefront of modern and contemporary Arab art.
"Long considered a bastion of creativity in the region, Iran is currently experiencing a remarkable artistic revivial in the middle of the most challenging of circumstances. Iranian artists - whether based inside or outside the country - are creating remarkable works that reflect their country's social and political environment, while incorporating their own personal worldviews and those of their adopted homelands. Seen together, these works form a new and exciting movement that can only gain in importance in the coming years." "This book catalogues this new movement, capturing its brilliance and creative energy. Packed with wonderful images, it is an important and lively compendium of thought-provoking essays, historical context and profiles of the leading artists, whether well-established, internationally recognized or emerging. Exclusive interviews with the key artists, collectors and curators offer new insights, and allow the book to explore the differences and similarities between current international movements in art and the art produced both in Iran and by artists of the Persian Diaspora."
Turkey, the bridge between continents, the meeting point of East and West, has witnessed many golden ages of art throughout the centuries. Today it is once again home to an extraordinarily vibrant contemporary art scene.
"The first monograph to successfully address the dual questions of the development of painting in the Islamic lands in the 19th and 20th centuries and the significance of an indigenous 20th-century artistic tradition . . . presents a lucid and objective discussion of provocative questions related to the evolution of contemporary painting from Islamic lands, including the role of colonial institutions, indigenous patronage, art education, and the formation of a national artistic identity."--Layla S. Diba, associate curator for Islamic art, Brooklyn Museum In this beautifully illustrated book, Wijdan Ali offers a historical survey of the development of modern painting in the Islamic world from the 19th century to the present. She provides background on dominant artistic traditions before 1900 as well as an evaluation of the loss of traditional aesthetics under the impress of Western culture. Ali also explores the persistence and reemergence of calligraphic art as an expression of national artistic identity, and hers is the first book to consider in depth the modern calligraphic school. Ali's account begins with a descriptive survey of the development of contemporary art in the heartland of Islam, from Morocco to Iran. Her discussion incorporates the historical, political, social, and economic factors that brought about artistic and aesthetic changes in the region. Building on this survey, she analyzes the factors behind the evolution of various styles of calligraphic art, their substyles and adherents, and their respective places within the contemporary calligraphic school. In an appendix, she provides biographical data on the most influential modern Islamic artists. More than 150 color and black-and-white photographs allow the reader to see and appreciate the beauty and importance of these works. While a few recent collection catalogs have hinted at the growing interest in the art of the Islamic world, Ali's study is by far the most comprehensive yet undertaken of Islamic art in the contemporary period. It will substantially expand the study and concept of "modern art" beyond the narrow province of American and western European schools and establish a broad foundation for future investigation of modern artistic movements in the Middle East. Wijdan Ali is a painter, art historian, and lecturer at the Institute of Diplomacy, Amman, Jordan. Her most recent publications are What Is Islamic Art? (1996) and Modern Art in Jordan (1996).