Persian Visions: Contemporary Photography from Iran, an exhibition of 58 works of photography and video installations by 20 of Iran’s most celebrated photographers, will be on view at DePauw University’s Richard E. Peeler Art Center beginning February 10th, 2014. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will continue through May 8th. It gathers personal perspectives of contemporary Iran filtered through individual sensibilities, which simultaneously addressing public concerns.
Middle Eastern women, supposedly powerless and oppressed behind walls and veils, are in fact a force in both society and the arts. They played a major role in the Arab Spring and continue to do so in the flourishing regional art scene — specifically in photography — which is alive and very well indeed. Some Middle Eastern photographers have taken their cameras to the barricades, physical ones and those less obvious, like the barriers erected by stereotypes, which they remain determined to defy. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, takes note in She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers From Iran and the Arab World, an ambitious and revealing exhibition of work by 12 women, some internationally known.
Read More: Islamic World Through Women’s Eyes
Edward Said, a literary scholar and public intellectual, spent much of his lifetime ruing the way Westerners represented the Islamic world. “What America refuses to see clearly,” he wrote months before he died in 2003, “it can hardly hope to remedy.” A fascinating exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston brings the region into sharper focus. She Who Tells A Story collects the work of 12 contemporary female photographers and film-makers from the Middle East. At a time when American and European views of the Islamic world tend to be filtered through a lens of fear and anxiety, these images offer a more nuanced portrait of a culturally complicated place.
Read More: Behind the Veil
See also: The Middle East Through Women’s Cameras
The most famous storyteller in Middle Eastern culture is a woman, Scheherazade. In the “Thousand and One Nights,” she told stories to save her life. Her exalted status lends a grim irony to the fact that the lives of women in much of the Middle East are radically circumscribed — and it lends a defiant irony to the title of She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers From Iran and the Arab World. Organized by Kristen Gresh, the show runs at the Museum of Fine Arts through January 12th, 2014. Gresh is the MFA’s Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh assistant curator of photographs.
Read More: The Middle East Through Women’s Cameras