She Who Tells a Story
“She Who Tells a Story“: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World
at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg/USA – from May 30th to September 28th 2015.
“The images in She Who Tells a Story not only are made by women with roots in Iran and the Arab world, but are about the people, landscapes, and cultures of the region. Many of the photographers here explore questions of identity through an evolving and shifting set of narratives that must be understood as a response to Orientalism. Historically, “Orientalism” has referred to artistic or literary depictions by European or American artists and writers of the East, including Middle Eastern, North African, and Eastern cultures. In his pioneering study Orientalism (1978), the Palestinian-born scholar Edward Said argued that Orientalism aligns Western romanticized visions of the region with the goals of European and American colonialism and imperialism; it is a discourse of power, presenting the “Orient” as culturally inferior. Since the appearance of Said’s provocative study, questions surrounding imagery of Middle Eastern, North African, and Asian cultures have been vigorously reconsidered and debated. Regardless of the opinions expressed in these sometimes contentious conversations, Orientalism, and, more specifically, Orientalist painting, is indisputably fundamental to the region’s historical visual representation.” wrote Kristen Gresh introducing us to the exhibition that she’s curating at Carnegie Museum of Art
In Arabic, the word rawiya means “she who tells a story”. The photographs in this exhibition—made by women with roots in Iran and the Arab world—are themselves a collection of stories.
She Who Tells a Story introduces the pioneering work of 12 leading women photographers who have tackled the very notion of representation with passion and power, questioning tradition and challenging perceptions of Middle Eastern identity. Their provocative work ranges from fine art to photojournalism and provides insights into political and social issues, including questions of personal identity and the complex political and social landscapes of their home regions in images of great sophistication, expressiveness, and beauty. She Who Tells a Story is an invitation not only to discover new photography, but to shift perspectives and to open a cultural dialogue that begins with art.
This exhibition includes work by Jananne Al-Ani (Iraqi, b. 1966), Boushra Almutawakel (Yemini, b. 1969), Gohar Dashti (Iranian, b. 1980), Rana El Nemr (Egyptian, b.Germany, 1974), Lalla Essaydi (Moroccan, b. 1956), Shadi Ghadirian (Iranian, b. 1974), Tanya Habjouqa (Jordanian, b. 1975), Rula Halawani (Palestinian, b. 1964), Nermine Hammam (Egyptian, b. 1967), Rania Matar (Lebanese, b. 1964), Shirin Neshat (Iranian, b. 1957), and Newsha Tavakolian (Iranian, b. 1981).
She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from May 30th to September 28th 2015 in exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg/USA.
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Gonzalo Bénard is an art photographer and the author of “The Sacred Book of G“ and “I, Energy – on Collective Consciousness, quantum physics and Old Shamanism“.
Follow @GBenard on twitter.
Gonzalo Bénard is also a lecturer, a tutor of autistic teenagers, and a visual artist. His photography has been part of the annual programs of several universities around the world, and are in several private and public art collections such as Museum of Serralves (Porto), Sir Elton John’s Foundation or Cultural Centre of Cascais. His works are in Hollywood productions and TV series.
You can see his work of photography at his webpage.