Latest Publications

The Desert Picturesque

Abdulqader Al Rassam
Dr. Willem Venter - Zayed University Assistant Professor of Art History
12 December 2023

When considering historical landscape paintings, depicting deserts, palm trees, camels, and large tents in the distance, one might understandably recall images associated with Orientalism. This artistic approach developed from European fascination with cultures and landscapes beyond their own - specifically, those situated to the east of Europe (arguably including northern parts of Africa) - often oversimplified into an imagined collective place known as the Orient. However, Abdulqader Al Rassam’s painting scene from Badia/Baghdad prompts the onlooker to interpret a Middle Eastern landscape that adheres to European landscape painting principles but is neither painted for the European viewer nor portrays the “Orient” as something alien.