“We each paint our lives and frame our experiences of the world in a distinctive way for reasons that we cannot always understand,” writes Ann Kerr in her book. The watercolors that fill its pages are an expression of the author’s affection and fascination for the Middle East, painted during her many sojourns there starting in the mid-fifties and continuing to the present time. The paintings are unashamedly romantic and reveal nothing of the turmoil going on in the region during the last half-century that has brought personal tragedy to so many, including the author and her family. They are almost the antithesis of such events. ‘The paintings represent hours snatched away from the business of everyday life—periods of time spent in nature amidst the sun-washed relics of the past where evidence of old cruelties and folly have faded away or been covered with sand and weeds.”
The eighty-nine watercolors and photographs are woven together with a brief narrative that brings the context in which they were painted or photographed to the reader. The book is divided into the four areas where the author painted, Lebanon, North Africa, Egypt and the Holy Land.
Ann Zwicker Kerr is the coordinator of the Visiting Fulbright Scholar Program at University of California at Los Angeles and a frequent speaker on the Middle East. Painting the Middle East is a companion to her first book Come with Me from Lebanon, also published by Syracuse University Press.
8 x 10, 132 pages, 109 color and black and white illustrations, 1 maps