Thesis Proposal

Reversing the Orientalist Gaze: Abelina Galustian and Contemporary Iranian representations of Neo-Orientalism

In 2003, an underground feminist art exhibition in Tehran, Iran entitled "Women Talking Back" featured work by artist Abelina Galustian, prompting recognition in the United States after having been shut down by the Islamic regime in Iran. Now studying in the U.S., Galustian's recent series "Womansworld," looks to classic 19th Century Orientalist Painters. She recreates detailed photorealist paintings reversing the gender. In doing so, she undermines the traditional dynamic of the male gaze. Her works point to contemporary issues of representation and the neo-orientalism rampant in the cultures the western world seeks to "liberate."

L:Jean-Leon Gerome, The Slave Market, 1867.
R: Abelina Galustian, The Slave Market: Womansword 2005

L:Jean-Leon Gerome, The Slave Market, 1867. R: Abelina Galustian, The Slave Market: Womansword 2005