She Who Tells a Story
Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World
She Who Tells a Story introduces the pioneering work of twelve leading women photographers from Iran and the Arab world: Jananne Al-Ani, Boushra Almutawakel, Gohar Dashti, Rana El Nemr, Lalla Essaydi, Shadi Ghadirian, Tanya Habjouqa, Rula Halawani, Nermine Hammam, Rania Matar, Shirin Neshat, and Newsha Tavakolian. As the Middle East has undergone unparalleled change over the past twenty years, and national and personal identities have been dismantled and rebuilt, these artists have tackled the very notion of representation with passion and power. Their provocative images, which range in style from photojournalism to staged and manipulated visions, explore themes of gender stereotypes, war and peace, and personal life, all the while confronting nostalgic Western notions about women of the Orient and exploring the complex political and social landscapes of their home regions. Enhanced with biographical and interpretive essays, and including more than 100 reproductions, this book 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.
Kristen Gresh is Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Assistant Curator of Photographs. Michket Krifa is an independent curator and art critic of African and Middle Eastern photography.
"The phrase “She Who Tells a Story” comes from the word rawiya (which is also the name of a collective of female photographers working in the Middle East). But the exhibit doesn’t tell one story; it tells many."
-Kerri MacDonald, from The New York Times Lens Blog
"[She Who Tells a Story] looks to be something of a revelation...an excellent opportunity for American audiences to learn about a tradition of photography that (to my knowledge) has had little exposure up until now..."
-American Photo Magazine
"This beautifully designed catalogue, with exquisite color reproductions, a suggested reading list, and two excellent essays that contextualize and historicize the work, is a must for all libraries. These women artists should be seen and heard."
-J. Natal, CHOICE