Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography at the V&A and the British Museum
Photograph, 'Who will make me real?', digital c-type print, by Raeda Saadeh, Palestine, 2003
Height: 94 cm image, Width: 119 cm image, Height: 96 cm frame, Width: 124.5 cm frame, Height: 101 cm perspex box, Width: 126.3 cm perspex box, Depth: 9 cm perspex box
The artist lies in a pose that recalls 19th-century European paintings of reclining nudes. These often featured non-European women and ‘Orientalist’ costumes and scenery. Saadeh is encased in Palestinian newspapers, which conceal her body from neck to ankle while revealing its contours. The covering is both flimsy and apparently immobilising, resembling a papier-mâché body cast. Any sensuality implied by her pose is disrupted by the harsh realities reported in the newspaper.
(Marta Weiss) [September 2012]
Raeda Saadeh is a Jerusalem-based Palestinian artist with a growing international reputation. She uses photography, video, performance and installations to explore issues of Palestinian identity, often focusing specifically on gender. In this highly staged self-portrait, the artist represents herself as an odalisque with a political twist. Rather than posing as one of the passive, sexually available women that recur in Orientalist art, she gazes directly at the viewer, her body encased in Palestinian newspapers.