Current graduate student in art history with a focus on Islamic art & architecture, specifically the Ottoman Empire. Experience with teaching, writing, and editing.

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    Depictions of Silent Struggle in Nermine Hammam's series, "Anachrony"

    Nermine Hammam’s series "Anachrony," exhibited in 2010, are striking images created by Hammam and her daughter and artist Karima Mansour. While these images are often interpreted as commentary on the veil in Muslim culture, in actuality they are a reflection of Hammam’s experience after visiting a mental asylum in Egypt. These unvalidated connections to the veil made by Western viewers begs several questions: What are the conditions for a female Muslim artist in contemporary society? Does the debate surrounding the veil replace the artist’s intention of expressing opinions about an unrelated issue, like the conditions of mental facilities in Egypt? What is the correlation between artwork and the contemporary social/political/cultural issues of the era in which it was produced? Can female Muslim artists escape the stereotypical association with the veil or is this a phenomenon that arises out of cultural misunderstanding and lack of historical/contextual knowledge by Westerners?

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      You develop an interesting comparison of the different ways to interpret Baker’s actions. It begs the question of how much emphasis we place upon peoples’ actions in the past, especially those in the limelight. Whereas Baker could have been reclaiming her stereotype to present it in a manner that empowered her or perpetuated/validated the social perceptions of the ‘other,’ she also could have simply been a young woman attempting to carve her mark in the fabric of history. I wonder if we were placed in her position, if we would attempt to radically change a perception that had existed for centuries or be more concerned with sources of income and financial support. Perhaps Baker did not consider the ramifications of her provocative performances and was truly content with her success and ability to thrive in a profession that she was passionate about. It would be intriguing to read more of her writing and possible interviews to gain a better understanding of her awareness of the ramifications her actions had.

      Thank you for this thought-provoking article!

      Embracing “The Other” in Josephine Baker

      This is an enlightening piece on Tim Burton’s drawings. It is an interesting phenomenon that so many of his movies are admired yet his drawings are rarely exhibited. I did have the fortune of seeing the exhibit you mentioned at MOMA. Of particular interest is your discussion of Burton’s compulsive drawing. The desire and need to produce these fantastical images is an elusive concept that leads one to question where an artist’s inspiration originates and validates the importance placed upon the artistic process as an ethereal attribute. Thank you for this wonderful article on Burton’s drawings.

      The Art of Tim Burton: The Artist Before The Filmmaker

      This is an excellent point, not only does the type of art produced during this time period reflect the socio-political perspectives of a global society, it also reveals the effects this imagery had upon the public. Perhaps the reason for the focus on the artwork that represents WWI as a heroic effort for democracy because it was the justification people needed at that time to rationalize such horrific acts committed on humans by humans.
      In addition, the artwork presents itself as an outlet for the troubled mind, as in the case of Spencer. Until recently, little attention has been paid to psychological effects upon soldiers. This particular artwork gives a small insight into the significant toll global events had upon this individual and the life-long damage war perpetuates. Spencer may have been more fortunate because he was able to express his demons creatively, to share them with others and alleviate some of the weight upon his shoulders.
      Similarly to the case with Nevinson, in the crucial quote you intelligently added; the artist expresses a significant point about ones’ ability to communicate traumatic experiences. In many cases, words cannot even begin to relate the amount of pain and suffering that a powerful image can. Hence Barnard’s famous and valid quote, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
      The mention of Tonks was certainly an impactful example. I have viewed plenty of photographs depicting this subject matter, but the expressive quality in the lines and corporeal application of color of Tonks’ pastels absolutely accentuates the emotion you so articulately discuss. While the photographs carry a hyper-realistic quality, sometimes the realistic horror of those photographs eclipses the emotive qualities. However, painting, coupled with personal expression, has the ability to invoke compassion and empathy.
      Thank you for this outstanding contribution. The artwork was very striking and your comments were equally powerful.

      World War One: Truth Within Artistic Representations