She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World

Dont Forget This Is Not You (for Sahar Lotfi) Newsha Tavakolian (Iranian, born in 1981) 2010 Chromogenic print mounted on aluminum *Reproduced with permission. *Courtesy of the artist and East Wing Contemporary Gallery. *Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Dont Forget This Is Not You (for Sahar Lotfi)
Newsha Tavakolian (Iranian, born in 1981)
2010
Chromogenic print mounted on aluminum
*Reproduced with permission.
*Courtesy of the artist and East Wing Contemporary Gallery.
*Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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.

Dreamland I Nermine Hammam (born in 1967) 2011 Chromogenic print *© Nermine Hammam *Courtesy of the artist and Rose Issa Projects, London *Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Dreamland I
Nermine Hammam (born in 1967)
2011
Chromogenic print
*© Nermine Hammam
*Courtesy of the artist and Rose Issa Projects, London
*Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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.

Women of Gaza 3 Tanya Habjouqa (Jordanian, born in 1975) 2009 Chromogenic print *© Tanya Habjouqa * Courtesy of the artist and East Wing Contemporary Gallery *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Women of Gaza 3
Tanya Habjouqa (Jordanian, born in 1975)
2009
Chromogenic print
*© Tanya Habjouqa
*Courtesy of the artist and East Wing Contemporary Gallery
*Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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.

Roja Shirin Neshat (Iranian born, born in 1957) 2012 Photograph, gelatin silver print with India ink *Copyright Shirin Neshat, Courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Roja
Shirin Neshat (Iranian born, born in 1957)
2012
Photograph, gelatin silver print with India ink
*Copyright Shirin Neshat, Courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels
*Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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

Bullet Revisited #3 Lalla Assia Essaydi (Moroccan, born in 1956) 2012 Triptych, three chromogenic prints on aluminum *Reproduced with permission. *Courtesy of Miller Yezerski Gallery Boston; Edwynn Houk Gallery New York *Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Bullet Revisited #3 Lalla Assia Essaydi (Moroccan, born in 1956)
2012
Triptych, three chromogenic prints on aluminum
*Reproduced with permission.
*Courtesy of Miller Yezerski Gallery Boston; Edwynn Houk Gallery New York
*Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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