Veil: Veiling, Representation, and Contemporary Art

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9780262523486: Veil: Veiling, Representation, and Contemporary Art

No single item of clothing has had greater influence on Western images of Middle Eastern and North African women than the veil. The fascination of Western writers, artists, and photographers with the veil reflects the voyeuristic nature of our interest in what is strange and "other."Veil, which accompanies an exhibition organized by the Institute of International Visual Arts in London, explores the representation of the veil in contemporary visual arts. Providing a context for the commissioned essays are a number of classical historical texts crossing religions, cultures, genders, and ages -- from Greek myths to articles published in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Some of the contemporary artists and scholars write autobiographically about the meaning of the veil in their lives. Others take a more political approach, discussing, for example, how the events of September 11 changed the use and reception of veil imagery throughout the world. Still others take a historical approach, examining how nineteenth-century technological developments in travel and photography led to photographic depictions of both the veiled and unveiled body in relation to landscape. A number of essays look at the art historical precedents for the current interest in artwork addressing the veil, while others examine how codes of modesty and gender segregation have affected the making and viewing of films in postrevolutionary Iran.The essays are by Jananne Al-Ani, David A. Bailey, Alison Donnell, Ghazel, Salah Hassan, Reina Lewis, Hamid Naficy, Zineb Sedira, and Gilane Tawadros. The artists represented include Faisal Abdu'Allah, Kourosh Adim, Ghada Amer, Jananne Al-Ani, Farah Bajull, Samta Benyahia, Ga봡n de Cl鲡mbault, Marc Garanger, Shadafarin Ghadirian, Group AES, Emily Jacir, Ramesh Kalkur, Shirin Neshat, Harold Offeh, Gillo Pontecorvo, Zineb Sedira, Mitra Tabrizian, and Elin Strand.

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About the Author:

David A. Bailey is an artist, writer, and curator. He is Co-director of the African and Asian Visual Arts Archive in London.

Gilane Tawadros is the founding director of the Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA).

From Publishers Weekly:

In response to Western focus on the veil as a sign and tool of women's oppression, Bailey, codirector of London's African and Asian Visual Arts Archive, and Tawadros, founding director of the Institute of International Visual Arts, put together an exhibition of artists from a variety of nationalities who have worked with its tensions and contradictions. Veiled women sit at The Last Supper, as composed by London-born artist Faisal Abdu'Allah; a film still shows a journalist wearing a burqa in Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf's Kandahar; women in shorts also wear black veils in Iraqi-born artist Jananne Al'Ani's black-and-white photographs; a photo by Moroccan-born, Paris-based artist Majida Khattari has a young woman with a mesh green net pulled tightly over her head-it is titled "1001 Sufferings of Tchadiri." Seven essays by a variety of scholars, while sometimes jargon-heavy, ask difficult and incisive questions. Harvard Divinity School professor Leila Ahmed deconstructs "The Discourse of the Veil," tracing it to Qassim Amin's 1899 text "The Liberation of Woman," while Alison Donnell, of Britain's Nottingham Trent University, inquires into "Visibility, Violence and Voice?: Attitudes to Veiling Post-11 September." Her tentative conclusion is convincing: "In light of political failure, perhaps cultural interventions can bring change to the pattern through which Muslim women only achieve Western visibility by suffering violence."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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David A. Bailey (Editor), Gilane Tawadros (Editor)
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