Queer World Making: Contemporary Middle Eastern Diasporic Art
Published by: University of Washington Press
Imprint: University of Washington Press
Sales Date: 2024-02-06
Available: February 2024
328 Pages, 7.25 x 9.00 in, 47 color illus.
Not Yet Published
Premodern archives from the Middle East show rich and diverse homoerotic worlds that were disrupted by the colonial imposition of Western models of sexuality. Andrew Gayed traces how contemporary Arab and Middle Eastern diasporic artists have remembered and reinvented these historical ways of being in their work in order to imagine a different present. Building on global art histories and transnational queer theory, Queer World Making illuminates contemporary understandings of queer sexuality in the Middle Eastern diaspora. The author focuses on the visual works of artists who create political art about queer identity, including Jamil Hellu, Ebrin Bagheri, 2Fik, Laurence Rasti, Nilbar Güres, and Alireza Shojaian.
Through engaging with these artists, Gayed is seeking to articulate a Western and non-Western modernity that works beyond the dichotomy of sexual oppression, stereotypically associated with the Middle East, versus sexual acceptance, attributed to North American norms. Instead, Gayed traces how diasporic subjects create coming-out narratives and identities that provide alternatives to inscribed Western models. Queer World Making reframes Arab homosexualities in terms of desire and alternative gender norms rather than through Western notions of visibility and coming out, narratives that are not conducive to understanding how queer Arabs living in the West experience their sexuality.