Thumbing through the July/August issue of Intelligent Life, I was stopped in my tracks when I came upon a powerful image by artist/photographer Newsha Tavakolian, titled “Don’t Forget This Is Not You (for Sahar Lotfi).” The image is one of a set of imaginary CD covers for a group of professional female singers forbidden to record or perform in their native Iran. The haunting resolve, strength and quiet dignity in this piece stayed with me, prompting further exploration.
The image is part of an upcoming exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Titled “She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World” the exhibition celebrates the work of 12 contemporary Arab and Iranian women photographers addressing head on – with rich artistic expression – tradition, perceptions of Middle Eastern identity and the political and personal self.
This group of pioneering photographers is from, amongst other countries, Iran, Iraq, Palestine and Egypt. Kristen Gresh, assistant curator of photographs at the MFA, observes “It’s about putting art and culture before politics.” So many complex and layered questions arise when viewing the images, this collection of imagery has potential to do exactly what photography in this genre intends: sparking thought, discourse, and shifts in thinking/action.
The exhibition opens August 27th and runs until January 12th, 2014. For those outside Boston, an accompanying catalog will be available in September; enhanced with biographical and interpretive essays, and including more than 100 reproductions. This exhibition challenges us to set aside preconceptions about this part of the world, and share in the vision of a group of vibrant artists as they claim the right to tell their own stories in images of great sophistication, expressiveness, and beauty.
Information about the exhibit
Information about the book
Review from Huffington Post