Harem fantasies and the new scheherazades



It is surprising how many Western men smile when they hear the word harem. Orientalism has been a thought-provoking theme for the many Western artists to have painted an idyllic view of the harem and its women. In fact the word harem, referring to a family institution in Islamic society, describes a private space where womenfolk are kept closed away from public life. As a counterpoint, the new Scheherazades, contemporary artists from an Islamic background, are women who fight for their freedom in every sense, who take risks and expound their intimate, rebellious thoughts, using the personal visual language of their work to voice their protest. Those two visions are represented in the exhibition Harem fantasies and the new scheherazades.


Fatima Mernissi

Exhibition design
Olga Subirós Studio