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Wed, 04/06/2022 – 17:13
Known for Arabic, North African, and Western fusion electronic music, Natacha Atlas is photographed here in a kind of “Oriental tableau” inspired by Egyptian mid-twentieth-century photography and classic movies Youssef Nabil viewed growing up. Supine, sensuous, and headless, Atlas nevertheless confronts the “male gaze” implicit in Western fantasies of the Middle East that presuppose a state of feminine vulnerability and passivity. Rather, with her formidable, toned physique (Atlas performed as a belly dancer in London clubs earlier in her career), she controls her own sexuality. In contrast to the Orientalist belly-dancer trope, which Eye perpetuates, Nabil’s photograph activates his memories of Egypt—of home.