Review of Orientalism by Edward Said
Orientalism by Edward Said appears as one of the foundational attempts to describe the artificial difference between East and West, created by the West (Europeans). In the article under review, Said has started off with particular reference to Libya (in context of Gulf war and Middle East as a hub of orientalism under American political hegemony). He has tried to establish the significance of the scope of orientalism as a science which involves everything including the way people live, behave, and respond to, both in the East and the West. This is so because, with European colonization in the East (Middle East, Asia, and North Africa), they found these cultures and civilizations very exotic and introduced orientalism to define the interpret this exoticism on their own terms. Thus, according to Said, Europeans divided the world into occident and the orient; civilized and uncivilized.
Edward Said has taken multiple approaches; particularly the academic one, to explain how the West has exploited their self-made notions of orientalism to describe Occidentalism and in what ways the latter is better and superior to the former. The social scientists conducting the studies on orientals in the academic world appeared to be prejudiced and biased; causing the current world problems of power imbalance.
In the U.S., the poster movement has an immediate impact on the graphic artists of the counterculture, the anti-war movements, and the radical turns taken by numerous student and campus organizations. Although the greater activities of the Civil Rights movement precede the American poster renaissance, the Black Power Movement and the various political Solidarity movements that emerge in the late 1960s tap the talents of visual artists and their wielding of the medium’s popularity to great propagandistic effect. Left lithography eventually impacts even on the artworld, where artists, and in recent decades, museums and critics, recognize the vital link supplied by the political poster renaissance between the social and political artists of early generations — Käthe Kollwitz, Diego Rivera, John Heartfield, Kurt Schwitters, Elizabeth Catlett–and a new generation of political artists working in myriad art world venues, such as Alfredo Jaar, Hans Haake, the Guerrilla Girls, Barbara Kruger, Keith Haring, General Idea, Gran Fury, Kara Walker, Glen Ligon, and numerous others.