"Challenging Orientalism: New Perspectives on Perception and Reception"

ed. by Emily Christensen and Erica Payet

World Art, Volume 13:1, 2023


The latest issue of Word Art journal has just been published! This issue is edited by one of Manazir Journal #3 contributor, Emily Christensen, whose text analysed Wassily Kandinsky at the Exhibition "Meisterwerke muhammedanischer Kunst in Munich, 1910.

Among others, you will find one article written by Nadia Radwan, entitled "Charming Snakes: Taste as Knowledge and the New Narratives of Middle Eastern Orientalist Collections"

Her article examines collections of nineteenth-century European art located in the Middle East and their potential to reconfigure and expand the definition of Orientalism. It investigates how the migration of Orientalist artworks produced in Europe to the spaces they allegedly represent may generate new art-historical narratives that challenge the canonic Saidian postcolonial discourse. First, by addressing the notions of taste and knowledge, it explores the ways representations of racial and gender stereotypes are renegotiated as they enter the collection. Second, it uncovers some aspects of the understudied local histories of Orientalism through artworks produced by artists from the region, so as to broaden its narrative and emphasize its multiple dimensions. Finally, this article reflects on the notion of nostalgia as a possible framework to critically reflect on the apparent ambiguity of the increasing acquisitions of European Orientalist art by Middle Eastern collectors.


Browse the whole issue here.

Abstract of the issue: Orientalist art occupies a complicated and often contradictory position in the twenty-first century. Having observed that recent exhibitions suggest significant differences between how this art is theorised and how it is presented to and received by the public, it is timely to interrogate anew the interpretation of Orientalist art, and to examine and bring together new academic work currently being undertaken on the topic. This special issue provides a platform for authors to survey and take up the field in multiple new directions. This introduction briefly presents the genesis of the ‘Challenging Orientalism' project and comments on the six select studies of the issue. They all contribute to expanding the traditional borders of this field with a variety of materials, geographies and contexts, and offer novel studies of Orientalist art from the nineteenth century to the modern day, notably providing insights into its contemporary display and reception.