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The Reconstructed Orient

Part 2 Project 2023
Mayce Arebi
Manchester School of Architecture Manchester | UK
Since the 19th century, orientalist paintings were intended as propaganda, depicting the East as a place of backwardness. These false ‘realistic’ paintings are informed by the intersection of our oppressions. Within the art industry, obscure colonialism permeates through the art – allowing visitors to understand the history of power through the Western perspective.

Whilst the ‘Orients’ are being observed within the confined walls of the Birmingham Museum and Gallery of Art; they’re continuously objectified and displayed through the lenses of colonialism for the masses to consume. The hierarchy of observation is changing. Removing the orients from the restriction of the colonialist canvas and expanding their lines of gaze beyond the gallery walls – ‘The infinite intersecting Gaze’.

Hence; The Deconstructed Canvas and Reconstructed Orient.

The 'Orients' have finally escaped the colonial gaze and are at the highest level of observing as they situate themselves within the realm of their gaze shards above the gallery and beyond – ‘The Gaze shard District’. The elevated shards act as a canvas for current work to be displayed on; portraying an accurate cultural representation. The reclaiming of their narrative continues and will not be written or painted by anyone but themselves.

Mayce Arebi

Helen Iball
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