Historically Orientalist art signifies the onset of dialog after 1800 between Europe and the lands of Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and North Africa. Whereas contact was previously limited to trade and military ventures, European travelers for reasons of scholarship and archeology, came to study the culture of these faraway lands.This is what makes Orientalist art a movement like no other. These artist expeditions were first-hand encounters through difficult journeys requiring them to live there. This carries all kinds of encounters with drastically different climate, clothing, social norms, difficulties, resentment. Orientalism, as defined by Edward Said, is fraught with controversy as a reflection of Western Europe's preconceived archetypes that insists all Arabo-Islamic peoples are alike. This art should be studied with a full investigation of the entire period and post colonial studies.
The Jesuit Mission of Le Moyne College
Saint Ignatius of Loyola required his brother priests to go out into the world to engage new ideas and cultures, and to embrace them and immerse themselves in everyday life. Le Moyne College, as stated in its strategic plan, Sempre Avanti, believes that a student's success "will always reflect an outward-looking vision; their choices in the world will be informed by the compassion and demand for justice in the world that under-gird our Jesuit tradition."
The Orientalist artist as traveler, encountering another culture, engages us and calls us to fully examine Orientalist art in light of Edward Said's view of Orientalism.
Benjamin, Roger. Orientalist aesthetics: Art, Colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880-1930. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.
Parry, James. Orientalist Lives: Western Artists in the Middlel East, 1830-1920. Cairo: American University of Cairo, 2018.
Said, Edward W. Orientalism.
Spano, William V. The Legacy of Edward Said. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.
Varisco, Daniel M. Reading Orientalism: The Said and the Unsaid. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007.
--Inga H. Barnello, February 3, 2020
The Story of This Painting
When the College was renovating one of its buildings about a dozen years ago two monumental sized oil paintings were discovered, improperly stored and in a state of disrepair. Jacqueline Belfort-Chalat, then chair of fine arts, identified one as from the Orientalist movement and worthy of investigation and restoration. The new director of the library transported the painting to West Lake Conservators in Skaneateles, NY in 2018 for an evaluation, a necessary step before applying for grant funding. Enter the NYSCA/Greater Hudson Heritage Network's Conservation Treatment Grant Program. The GHHN responded positively and awarded Le Moyne College its highest grant amount. This allowed West Lake Conservators to receive half the funds necessary to begin the restoration in October 2019.
As the restoration nears completion, help is still needed. The El Hindi Fund committee at Le Moyne College stepped up with a generous amount. Still to be raised is $2,500. The Noreen Reale Falcone Library's restricted fund will support the project also.
A unveiling and reception is planned for winter/spring 2020. Watch for an announcement through the Dolphin Digest!