Opinion

Thoughts on West Asian Performance Art

We’ve been catching up on our reading in Hyperallergic HQ and came across this quote by Wafaa Bilal in the Dubai-based Brownbook magazine (Issue 25) about the state of performance art in West Asia (aka Middle East):

I think that a lot of modern artists and critics in the Arab world have placed a high value on craftsmanship and the object. As artists, we assign a value to an object, whether it’s a painting or a sculpture, but this is very similar except that it’s assigning a value to a performance. I think there are some performance artist [from the Arab world] working in the West who will influence the younger generation in the Middle East.

Never mind that the term “Arab world” is — yes, I’m going to use the word — problematic (and even bigoted, as if everyone who lives in Arab-majority nations is Arab … imagine if we called America the “Christian world”) but it does offer hope for a region that has produced little performance art compared to the rest of the world.

Coincidentally, Brownbook Issue 25 is quite good and focuses on Istanbul’s emerging art and design scenes. Though it would be nice if the magazine delved a little more into the politics of the nations and didn’t gloss over them in a superficial way. This is definitely a socialite/jet-setter/trendy publication but still worth a look.

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