Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art
A Brown Bag Seminar with Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi
Various governments in the modern Middle East, including Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Ba‘thist regimes of Syria and Iraq, have employed paintings, sculptures, film, and performance to propagate their policies to their domestic publics and as a tool of soft power abroad. Alongside this patronage of the arts by governments, many artists in the region have challenged authorities through their art. In this talk, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi will discuss the political undertones of iconic 20th century artworks in the Arab world and shed light on an often-neglected dimension of the region’s modern history.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is an Emirati columnist and researcher on social, political, and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf states. He is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative to build a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the UAE. Sultan is currently conducting research for a book on the modern architecture of Sharjah and teaching a course at Boston College.