Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Open Access Journal: Nafas Art Magazine: Contemporary Art from the Maghreb to the Middle East, from Central Asia to SE Asia

Since March 2003, this online magazine has presented articles, information, and visual material on current art whose essential point of origin or reference is in the Islamic world. Of course, this also includes the work of artists who live elsewhere, but who see their cultural home in countries and regions shaped by Islam. To prevent misunderstandings: this publication is not about "Islamic" art.

Until it was renamed "Nafas. Art Magazine" in February 2007, this online magazine was titled "Contemporary Art from the Islamic World". In full consciousness of its questionability, the editors took up a widely used term that suggests a generalizing view of the countries and regions that have a majority Muslim population. In this way, we wanted to speak to stereotypical ideas in order to counter them by confronting them with works by artists who do not fit the usual clichés. It has been repeatedly underscored – and in the course of the years also demonstrated with articles and works – that the point of this project is to foster not only a differentiated perception of artistic practices, but also of the complex reality of life in the "Islamic world". This is primarily done by presenting a large number of individual artistic positions behind which a broad range of personal, cultural, religious, social, and other contexts become visible. While the strategy of using the first title functioned quite well as far as the audience in the "West" is concerned, it sometimes caused uneasiness, specially among artists who did not want to be categorized by a label tied to a religion...

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