Contemporary Middle Eastern and North African Art

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Art created in the Middle East and North Africa since roughly 1980. Given the region's incredible diversity and breadth, spanning from the Mediterranean to Iran, the category is necessarily general. Middle Eastern artists often work in contexts fraught with conflict, finding themselves in war zones or at the crossroads of tradition and rapid development. In many cases, due to censorship and other constraints, artists originally from the region now work in exile. These artists often call the West’s prevailing representations of the Middle East into question, as well as exploring their own dislocation from home. Shirin Neshat, for example, makes allegorical films and photographs about fundamentalist Islam after the Iranian Revolution, while Emily Jacir and Walid Raad engage the subjective processes of remembering and documenting the histories of regions and peoples in conflict.

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