Mernissi Homepage
Fatema Mernissi

An exhibition at the
Centre de Cultura Contemparania de Barcelona
From 18 February to 18 May 2003

Harem Fantasies
European and Islamic Views of Beauty and Love

The exhibition takes as its basis the reality and the myth of the harem in order to establish a contrast between Western and Muslim iconographies. The different approaches reveal the role of women in Islamic society and the fascination that the theme of the harem awoke among nineteenth- and twentieth-century Western artists.

The exhibition is closely connected with the life and personality of its curator, Fatema Mernissi, the best-known Moroccan woman writer on the international scene, who has published her reflections on the reality of the harem, totally different to the Western idea.

The exhibition will feature some 150 works, including paintings, drawings and engravings of Western iconography, among them works by Ingres, Delacroix, Matisse and Picasso, and some of the loveliest examples of Eastern miniatures by Persian and Turkish masters and from India's Mughal dynasty, on the theme of the harem, plus original photographs documenting the life of its inhabitants and the works of contemporary artists such as Janane Al-Ani, Ghada Amer, Shadi Gadírian and Shirin Neshat, among others, who champion the role of women in Islamic society.

The new Scheherazades. Women and citizenship in the Mediterranean
18, 19 and 20 February

A workshop and a cycle of lectures that takes as its point of departure how writer Fatema Mernissi see the Western world's vision of the harem and specifically of Eastern women, contrasting it with the reality of Muslim women, by means of painting and literature.

(Information from the CCCB)

Bukhari: Baigneuse
Abdallah Bukhari
Baigneuse, album-leaf, 1741-1742
Miniatura, gouache sobre papel
16,2 cm x 10,8 cm
Topkapi Sarayi Museum, Istanbul