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Arkansas Arts Center Presents Exotic Lands: Europe Imagines Egypt and the East
Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Veduta del Sepolcro di Cajo Cestio from Le Vedute di Roma (View of the Pyramid of Caius Cestius, from Views of Rome), 1755. Etching on paper, 15 7/8 x 21 5/8 inches, 1988.009
LITTLE ROCK, AR.- The Arkansas Arts Center presents the exhibition Exotic Lands: Europe Imagines Egypt and the East, on view September 25 – November 22, 2009.

This exhibition, drawn from the Arkansas Arts Center Collection, showcases works by Paul Cézanne, Eugène Delacroix, Paul Signac and more. Scenes from the Middle East and Northern Africa enthralled European artists as early as the 16th century. The vogue for artifacts and souvenirs from the Orient reached its height in the colonial era — an intense period in the history of relations between the West and the Middle East. At this time, many artists traveled to the Middle East and were compelled to record scenes depicting the differences embodied in these exotic cultures.

Arkansas Arts Center Curator of Drawings Phaedra Siebert says, “Exotic Lands is a jewel of a show” and hopes it “will resonate with audiences on several levels.” Siebert opens Exotic Lands simultaneously with the exhibition World of the Pharaohs: Treasures of Egypt Revealed presented by Harriet and Warren Stephens, Stephens Inc. She explains, “The fantasies depicted in Exotic Lands fueled the explorations that brought objects on view in World of the Pharaohs to light.”

Siebert will present the lecture Exotic Lands: Europe Imagines Egypt and the East October 1, 2009, in the Arkansas Arts Center Lecture Hall. Siebert will discuss some of the ways that European artists and patrons used images to create fantasies of an exotic world. Siebert will also consider these images as tools that reinforced notions of European cultural, moral and artistic superiority in the height of the colonial era. The lecture will be held at 6:30 p.m. following a reception at 6 p.m. Attendance to the lecture is free and open to the public.

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