De-Orientalizing Art: A platform for Libyan female artists to share their work

1 min read
08 Jul

This article is coped from The Popular Chorus, a platform dedicated to the art, literature and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. It functions like a repository of Arab culture and an archive of the region's modern and contemporary transformation.

The Popular Chorus wrote an article about De-Orientalizing Art on June 25, 2020 featuring our work and mission. You can find the original article here.


There is now a place for Libyan female artists to share their artwork with the rest of the world. 

Founded by Shatha Sbeta, De-Orientalizing Art is an organization dedicated to providing Libyan female artists with a platform to share and sell their artworks on a global stage. It is also a platform that hopes to dismantle the orientalist framework by which art in Libya and the wider Middle East and North Africa region is analyzed and understood in the West. 

“The orientalist framework is a framework of perception that operates on power based off us versus them rhetoric (west vs. other). Orientalism is a corporate institution for dealing with the orient (anything not Western); by making statements about it, authorizing views of it and ruling over it. It is a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction between the orient and the occident.” read the organization’s website. “Acknowledging the existence of such framework of perception creates intentional effort to perceive non-Western art in a non-orientalist way. It is means to consciously deconstruct the ontological and epistemological distinctions that we make subconsciously.”

The initiative’s vision statement involves using art as a medium for societal change by providing opportunities for financial independence for female artists, empowering Libyan artists, and raising awareness on socio-political issues. 

The website features a gallery section with original paintings by artists such as Rawan Elmuntaser, Najla Fitouri, Faiza Ramadan and Khuloud Elzwai, as well as affordable prints and posters all done by Libyan artists. There is also a blog section, which deals with subjects such as The Importance of Art in Creating Change

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