Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Mary Healy
Cultural and Social History: The Journal of the Social History Society
A Complaint with the Cadi, ca. 1896: an East/West cultural encounter
Optional Fields
Art History; Cultural and Social History; Women’s Studies; Muslim social life; Qadi; Orientalism; women artists; visual culture
Vol. 15
No. 1
This article presents a case study of A Complaint with the Cadi (Algeria), ca. 1896—a painting by the French Orientalist artist Marie Lucas-Robiquet (1858-1959). Using cultural and social history as prisms, it explores what Lucas-Robiquet’s visual record communicates to the cultural ‘outsider’ about Muslim social life in French colonial Algeria. Attention is given to this artwork because it depicts the Islamic judiciary system as practised in late nineteenth-century Algeria. This article argues that this painting and its subject matter are rare in the Orientalist canon; that the artist was female, is, I posit, crucial to the ways in which this work can be read. Lucas-Robiquet, a decorated Orientalist, used a Naturalist style of painting which was both nuanced and sensitive to Islamic cultural traditions. I contend that A Complaint with the Cadi (or qāḍī meaning judge) is an important work because it represents a locus of historicised forms of Otherness: the French female artist and the Algerian cultural attribute.
Grant Details