Image making: representations of women in the art and career of Safeya Binzagr from 1968 to 2000

Elgibreen, Eiman (2015) Image making: representations of women in the art and career of Safeya Binzagr from 1968 to 2000. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF (Volume 1 - Text) - Published Version
Download (2MB)
[img] PDF (Volume 2 - Appendices - EMBARGOED PERMANENTLY) - Published Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (10MB)


This thesis examines a selection of work by the Saudi female artist Safeya Binzagr (b.1940) from the years 1968 to 2000. It is argued that in order to claim agency for Saudi women and fight negative stereotypes Binzagr focused in her work on highlighting their authoritative traditional roles in the pre-oil society. Binzagr changed their status in the cultural discourse by producing images that compensate for the lack of visual representations of Saudi women, and also she perpetuated the influence of these images by placing them in a museum that functions as an education centre.

The thesis examines how space segregation and the conservative nature of Saudi society neither limited the artist’s sense of control, nor forced her to overtly conflict with its norms. The first and second chapters highlight the cultural significance of Saudi society during the period in question and how it shaped Binzagr’s work and career plans. The third chapter analyses Binzagr’s representations of domestic life in old Jeddah, and how in her work she gave women an authoritative position over men. The fourth and fifth chapters examine the socio-religious boundaries of image making and explore how Binzagr’s style and subject matter helped her breach this prohibition. Moreover, they demonstrate how Binzagr’s sense of authority over her cultural heritage drove her to intervene and amend images of Saudi women in Orientalist photography.

The sixth chapter highlights the artist’s relationship to the ‘home’. It examines how family, ethnicity and class were used strategically to expand her audience group leading her to establish the first and only art museum in Saudi Arabia. Finally, the thesis concludes with a re-ordering of the crucial stages that shaped her career and style, and suggests that as an important part of , Saudi heritage religious based debates for Binzagr were an influential tool for negotiation.

Volume 2 - Appendices is EMBARGOED PERMANENTLY

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Art History
Subjects: N Fine Arts > ND Painting > ND0049 History > ND0201-1114 Special countries > ND0970 Saudia Arabia
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 06:09
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:49

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update