Press Room

NMWA Presents “She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World”

Dec 15 2015

Landmark exhibition features 12 pioneering artists and challenges stereotypes

WASHINGTON—A landmark exhibition of photographs by 12 contemporary women artists from Iran and the Arab world will be on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) from April 8–July 31, 2016. She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World challenges stereotypes surrounding the people, landscapes, and cultures of the region, and provides insight into political and social issues. The exhibition presents more than 80 photographs and a video installation. These provocative works—most created within the last decade—range in genre from portraiture, to documentary, to staged narratives.

She Who Tells a Story explores themes of identity, war, occupation, and protest. It refutes the conventional idea that Arab and Iranian women are oppressed or powerless, illuminating the fact that women are creating some of the most significant photographic work in the region today. The exhibition features artists 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.

“These groundbreaking artists challenge us to rethink our preconceived notions about Arab and Iranian women and their art,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “They invite us to stand in their shoes and see the extraordinarily striking complexities they face. The exhibition highlights their triumphs and struggles, which we hope will stimulate and enhance cultural dialogue on a personal as well as national level.” 

download the full press release

download the image contact sheet

download information on featured artists

National Museum of Women in the Arts