A Hot Wind Blows: Ecocritical Art in the Middle East

Categorized as Topics

A Hot Wind Blows:

Contemporary Ecocritical Art in the Middle East

Elizabeth Rauh


This talk examines contemporary ecocritical art of the Middle East. It offers an introduction to some of the creative methods artists are using to address the multifaceted crisis of climate change and today’s ecological emergencies. Around the world, eco-centered artworks and projects are challenging historically anthropocentric views. Less well-known, yet ever more urgent, are environmental and ecological art practices rooted in Islamic history or unfolding in the contemporary Middle East. These artworks are timely and pressing—and draw us to one epicenter of the global climate crisis.


Azimi, Negar. “Matter and Mind: Shirin Sabahi.” Bidoun Magazine (September 2018). Accessed 17 October 2020. 

Darat al-Funun. “2017 Artist Talk – Ammar Kammash.” Published 18 June 2017. Accessed 17 October 2020.  

Demos, TJ. “Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology: An Introduction.” Third Text 27, no. 1 (Jan 2013): 1–9.

Jackson, Georgina. “The Body in Ruins: Abbas Akhavan’s Study for a Monument.” Afterall 42 (Autumn/Winter 2016): 126–131.  

Kennedy, Emilia. “From Petro-States to ‘New Realities’: Perspectives on the Geographies of Oil.” Geography Compass 8, no. 4 (April 2014): 262–276.  

Smith, William S. “Climate Change Has Already Transformed Everything About Contemporary Art.” Art in America. Published 4 May 2020. Accessed 17 October 2020.


Elizabeth Rauh, “A Hot Wind Blows: Ecocritical Art in the Middle East,” Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online, published 20 October 2020.

Elizabeth Rauh (PhD, University of Michigan, 2020) is an art historian and curator of Islamic art history. Her research examines the history of modern artist experiments with Islamic heritage, popular image practices in Shi`i Islam, and the creative dimensions of the “Shi`i Left” during the 20th century. She also explores ecological art practices in Iraq and the Persian Gulf; this subject forms the focus of her forthcoming article: “Experiments in Eden: Midcentury Artist Voyages into the Mesopotamian Marshlands,” Journal of Contemporary Iraq & the Arab World (March 2021).