For the past six years, Moroccan-born photographer Lalla Essaydi has labored over a body of photographs made in a large, unoccupied home in her native country. She splits her time between Morocco and the U.S., transporting materials ranging from fabrics to bullet castings to a property owned by her family. The house is not just a distant studio space, though; it is a vital part of the narrative in Ms. Essaydi’s images that explore the Arab female identity. The vacant family home where her photographs are made once served as disciplinary space, where a young woman was sent when she disobeyed by stepping beyond the “permissible space.” The woman would spend a month alone in the house, where she was not spoken to by anyone, including the servants who were her only company.
Beauty and harmony are paramount in Islamic art. These qualities are also integral to the photographs, videos and films of Shirin Neshat. Born in Iran in 1957, the New York-based artist engages the Persian aesthetic and cultural traditions of her homeland to explore the ever-changing present of Iran. Her ravishing images show women crossing boundaries and asserting power despite Islamic norms that constrict their freedom. A rifle barrel protrudes like an earring alongside the face of a young woman in an image from Neshat’s 1996 series, “Women of Allah,” in the show She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World, on view through Jan. 12 at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
Worlds Apart, an exhibition of photographic works by Drew Tal opened at Emmanuel Fremin Gallery last week. The focus of the exhibition – which is also being shown in Istanbul, Turkey – is the Muslim veil. Most of the works are, at least ostensibly, portraits of various Muslim women, some wearing the niqab (veil) and some wearing the hijab (headscarf).
Read More: The Veil Illuminated
Tomorrow [July 9th-10th] marks the start of the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims around the world. It also marks the beginning of the 2013 International Ramadan Photography Competition: Capture the Spirit of Ramadan, for a third year. The International Ramadan Photography Competition™ is a unique and unprecedented 30-day visual celebration that aims to educate and enlighten millions of viewers around the world about the holy month of Ramadan through the art of photography. It currently houses the world’s largest modern collection of Islamic themed photographs from over 60 countries. The IRPC aims to provide a platform for talented photographers to share their creativity with the world while delivering a cross-cultural and inter-faith message that aims to eradicate misconceptions and misunderstandings about the Muslim faith with beautiful and positive imagery.