As art historian Linda Nochlin argued in her widely read essay, “The Imaginary Orient,” from , the task of critical art history is to assess the power structures . Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Nochlin, Linda. The politics of on nineteenth-century art and society/by Linda Nochlin. Imaginary Orient. Front Cover. Linda Nochlin Bibliographic information. QR code for The Imaginary Orient. Title, The Imaginary Orient. Author, Linda Nochlin.

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Susan Edwards September 1, 2 min read. Les Femmes du Maroc: Revisited 1Lalla Essaydi,chromogenic print.

Orientalism (article) | Khan Academy

Image courtesy the artist. Works such as The Snake Charmersaid Nochlin, manifested an imperialist, colonialist view of the East, with their representations of a timeless world seen through white eyes—yet allegedly absent of Western influence.

And yet, Nochlin now admits that she was also seduced by these paintings, with their dazzling surfaces and cinematic storytelling. Another view came from Lalla Essaydi, a contemporary artist from Morocco.


Rethinking Orientalism, Again | The Getty Iris

While aesthetically beautiful, she said, their depictions of nude women in public are deeply upsetting within Middle Eastern culture—a culture in which the mere appearance of women in public is a complicated matter. Essaydi pointed out that Western depictions of the Orient have had a real impact on the Middle East. For example, she told the audience that the veil was introduced to protect women from the Western gaze.

In her own work, Omaginary aims to return orieng and self-determination to the women she depicts.

Some of her images draw directly upon Orientalist tropes, such as the odalisque, common to Western imagery. Westerners imagining the Orient as a distant place frozen in time may be an old story, but these kinds of Orientalist images are still prevalent in our visual culture today.

Rethinking Orientalism, Again

Movies such as Eat Pray LoveSyrianaand Prince of Persia have been criticized for their caricatures of Asiaa continent that sometimes seems to exist for the sole purpose of helping rich white people find themselves. I am a writer and editor for the Web Group at the J.


In a previous life I studied American art and the history of photography; in this life Novhlin am studying for a master’s in library and information science. In my free time what little I haveI like to travel to places like Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia, take pictures, sew, make ice cream, and study Chinese.

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