ORIENTALIST IMAGERY IN THE VISUAL ARTS


ORIENTALIST IMAGERY IN THE VISUAL ARTS

ORIENTALIST IMAGERY IN THE VISUAL ARTS
By Tania Kamal El-Din
“The Orient,” Edward Said wrote, was “almost a European invention, and had been since antiquity a
place of romance, exotic beings, haunting memories and landscapes, remarkable experiences.” 1
His paradigm—Orientalism—analysed how the West studies, describes, and creates the ‘Orient’ that
is inherently inferior to the West; and how the West’s knowledges about the Orient are bound up
with its domination over it. “Orientalism establishes a set of polarities in which the Orient is
characterised as irrational, exotic, erotic, despotic and heathen, thereby securing the West in contrast
as rational, familiar, moral, just and Christian.”

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