If you missed the stark exhibition which ended today at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, She Who Tells A Story by 12 women photographers from Iran and the Arab world, you may still buy the 176-paged catalogue for $40.
The entrance to the show/Photo by Patricia Leslie
For the show's opening, museum director Susan Fisher Sterling wrote: "These groundbreaking artists challenge us to rethink our preconceived notions about Arab and Iranian women and their art." It "challenges stereotypes" about the Middle East region "and "provides insight into political and social issues."
The artists' creativeness came unbound in the presentation, clashing with restrictive and cloaked apparel so often associated with women from the area and frequently seen on Washington's streets. Indeed, some artists focused their cameras on the hijab and the burqa. (The Middle East is not the only conservative region when it comes to vestments: In a report issued this year by the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of European countries regulate women's religious dress in one way or another.)
The exhibition included more than 80 photographs and a video installation which filled galleries with contemporary color, and black and white images of life (sometimes staged) in the Middle East.
NMWA Curator Kathryn Wat noted on a tour that the show contained different subjects (including gender roles, military objects, and ways women are oppressed), displayed with "an element of grit, a lot of humor, and irony." Nine of the dozen artists still live in the Middle East.
The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where it opened and next traveled to Stanford University and then, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh before arriving in Washington.
Buy the catalogue here or at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005 which has other exhibitions to see.
Admission: Free on the first Sunday of the month (August 7) or $10, adults; $8, seniors and students; and always free for members and children, 18 and under.
For more information: 202-783-5000
Metro station: Metro Center. Exit at 13th Street and walk two blocks north.