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Venus I and II collages draw on the history of western orientalist painting and feminized representations of the Middle East, as exotic, sexualized, and available for consumption by a western audience. Orientalism post 9/11 is dominated by othering narratives of the Middle East as a source of masculine violence, oppression, and fear. Challenging both present and historic orientalist views, these Venuses confront us with a more vulnerable image of Arab masculinity. The model is the artist's husband who, as a refugee and American citizen, represents a complicated intimacy between east and west, as well as a shift in Arab and American identities, as part of the Arab diaspora situated within the context of the American interior.
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