Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art & Art History

First Advisor

Kira van Lil

Second Advisor

Melinda Barlow

Third Advisor

Ariana Maki


This project will investigate how home and identity is constructed in the works of artists who operate from within and outside of the MENA world in various states of exile. By looking at the tropes established in Orientalist photography, this project seeks to examine a connective thread between nineteenth-century Orientalist photography of the Middle East and North Africa and the works by contemporary photographic and video artists from the MENA world within the past ten years. The master narrative created in these nineteenth-century photographs, implying that the Middle East and North Africa is a homogenous location marked by ruined vacant cities and sexual abundance continues to impact the global perception of this diverse area in mainstream media. By investigating the many ways that contemporary artists turn the tropes established in early photography on their head, this thesis explores how contemporary MENA artists reclaim and rewrite their narratives of home.