CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


Feminist Readings of Art created by Philippine Migrant Women in Israel

Session 10 Gendered Practices

Tel Aviv University


My paper will discuss the ways in which female migrant workers from the Philippines engage in artistic production in Israel. It will examine this activity by focusing the discussion on the concept of "liminality," within the politics of identity and ideologies of nationhood and citizenship. I will arguethat these artists occupy a simultaneous position, feeling both marginalised and enhanced agents.The talk will thus offer a nuanced understanding of the narrativesof female migrant workersthrough intersectional analysis.

I will discuss examples of several artworks using an interdisciplinary approach and will also address methodological and ethical questions which arise from researching women's art, considering how it might be possible to go beyond Western feminist paradigms to include alternative perspectives, such as transnational feminisms in the arts.

Finally, this talk will offer a new understanding of Israeli art history, by thinking of women’s positioning in relation to identity, community, and nationalism, and will offer feminist readings relating to race, class, gender and religion. Aiming to complicate notions of self, nation-states, and cultural belonging, it will show that Filipina artworks effectively exemplifyhow hyphenated-identity women of non-hegemonic groups canexercise their agency from a non-binary perspective.


Tal Dekel is Head of the NCJW Women and Gender Forum at Tel Aviv University, Israel and she is also a lecturer in the Department of Art History at that University. She specializes in contemporary Israeli art, taking a particular interest in its correlations with feminism and transnationalism. Dekel has published extensively in international journals and her books are titled Gendered: Art and Feminist Theory, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2013); Transnational Identities: Women, Art and Migration in Contemporary Israel, Detroit: Wayne State University Press (2016). Her recent work focuses on intersectional analysis of women's lives under globalization and migration and she analyzes their manifestations within the Israeli society.