Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Portraits 3

I never said I was sticking to fiction!

Guests of the Sheik, an ethnography of an Iraqi Village, by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea. Mrs. Fernea and her husband (an anthropologist) lived in a Iraq from 1956-58. As he wasn't able to interact with the women, his wife did that part of his research for him, and wrote several books on her experiences there and in other Middle Eastern countries- all of which are wonderful!

She later became a Professor of. Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She passed away this December, and I regret never writing her.

Notes on the image- I made the women's hair and skin so red, because Mrs. Fernea writes about them dyeing it with henna. Also, in her first visit to the Sheik's harem,the women are afraid of her and keep their abaya's on (which they usually only wear outside), except the head wife, Selma. Mrs. Fernea is given the nickname "Beeja", as the women deem "Elizabeth" too hard to pronounce.

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