contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa


Showcases the British Museum’s extraordinary collection of contemporary works on paper by artists of the Middle East and North Africa.


ISBN: 9780714111957 Category:

Venetia Porter, Charles Tripp, Natasha Morris


“Reflections-contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa is a book that transcends ones expectations and the norms of publishing while keeping categoric faithfulness to accuracy as well as educational aptitude.” – Selections Arts Magazine

“Reflections is an ambitious, wide-ranging tome…[the book] finds its purpose as an archive of contemporary art from the Middle East and North Africa, and provides a gateway for students and teachers to diversify the art canon.” – Elephant Magazine

Reflections: contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa brings together an extraordinary collection of work from the British Museum for the first time. The contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa is rich and vibrant. Whether living in their countries of birth or in diaspora, the featured artists are part of the globalised world of art. Here we see artists responding to and making work about their present, histories, traditions and cultures, reflecting on a part of the world that has experienced extraordinary change in living memory.

The British Museum has been acquiring the work of Middle Eastern and North African artists since the 1980s, and the collection – principally works on paper – is one of the most extensive in the public sphere. Collected within the context of a museum of history, the works offer insights into the nature of civil societies, the complex politics of the region, and cultural traditions in their broadest sense, from the relationship with Islamic art, to the deep engagement with literature.

The introduction to the book by curator Venetia Porter explores the history of the collection and the works included. The essential framework for understanding the politics and context within which the artists are working is provided by Charles Tripp’s essay. The works are grouped into seven chapters, each beginning with a short introduction. The authors explore the selection within themes such as faith, abstraction and the female gaze.

Additional information

Weight 1310 g
Dimensions 27.9 x 28.9 cm
Publisher name The British Museum Press
Publication date 10 February 2021
Number of pages 256
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 27.9 x 28.9 cm
Weight 1310 g


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Venetia Porter is Curator of Islamic and contemporary Middle Eastern art at the British Museum and curator of the exhibition Reflections: contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa.

Charles Tripp is Emeritus Professor of Politics with reference to the Middle Eastand North Africa, SOAS and Fellow of the British Academy.

Natasha Morris is Myojin-Nadar Project Curator - Modern Middle East art at the British Museum.