Four Young Artists
in the Middle East
This is a visual account of the same journey that inspired Misadventure in the Middle East. Most of the pages are collaborations between Al Braithwaite and Henry Hemming, with others made by Stephen Stapleton and several by Georgie Weedon. Tactile reflections of form and colour, layered collages of Persian and Arabic type and iconography interwoven with diary extracts and ephemera communicate a visually rich, deliberately subjective and very accessible record of a journey and a fascinating portrait of cultural identity in the 21st century.
Each double-page spread of the book stands as an individual artwork, reflecting collective experiences of the streets, mosques, homes and deserts and capturing the modern face of Middle Eastern society – pages about artistic protests in an art college in Iran, drinking tea, being a woman in a patriarchal society, making art in Baghdad in the summer with the power off, a fish and chip van in Yemen, portraits of McDonald’s workers in Oman, fast-food Islamic geometries, short stories, celebrating the 4th July in one of Saddam’s ex-palaces and making art in a building formerly used by Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party to torture Kurdish freedom fighters.
For many the culture of the Middle East is still foreign. Off Screen: Four Young Artists in the Middle East aims to humanise it and to help erode prejudice.
Click here to find out more about the Offscreen Education Programme inspired by this book.