MODERN GENDERED ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET OF ALLAH—ÉTIENNE DINET AND SLIMAN BEN IBRAHIM (1918)

In: Arabica
Author: Ruth Roded
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Abstract

The gendered messages in the paintings and text of Dinet and Sliman's Life of Mohammad are the products of a fascinating social and cultural interchange that developed over three decades between the Frenchman and Algerian life. In this social and cultural context, Dinet produced his Orientalist paintings and collaborated with Ben Ibrahim on a series of illustrated books. At the same time, Dinet undertook a spiritual journey from Orientalist painter to Islamophile, formally converting in 1913. La Vie de Mohammed was composed and published in French during World War I and immediately after appeared in English. Dinet's visual gendered perception of the life of the Prophet projects an image of dignified women believers participating in communal religious life, separated to varying degrees from men. The text of the book sends a more diffuse, stock message about Muslim women. Originally produced in a limited edition, Dinet and Sliman's work was to bring the life story of the Prophet to far-reaching parts of the world.

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