She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World

20 September 2019 - 1 December 2019

During this critical time for Iran and the Arab world, as national and personal identities are being dismantled and rebuilt, contemporary photography reflects the complexities of unprecedented change. One of the most significant trends to emerge is the work of women photographers, whose remarkable and provocative images provide insights into new cultural landscapes, questioning tradition and challenging perceptions of Middle Eastern and Arab identity. “She Who Tells a Story” brings together the vital pioneering work of 12 leading artists, ranging in genre from portraiture to documentary: 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. The exhibition features over 80 photographs, lent by the artists, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the collection of James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach.

In related news, the Ackland recently launched a major initiative to build its collection of art from the Islamic world. A small exhibition, presented in conjunction with “She Who Tells a Story,” will showcase seven recent purchases, including calligraphic manuscripts, textiles, metalwork and an architectural fragment all dating from the 8th century CE to the 17th century. There will be one rotation of the textiles and Qur’anic manuscripts on Friday, November 22, midway through the show.

Exhibition organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Click HERE to read the press release.

SHE WHO TELLS A STORY Public programs

Family Weekend: Start with Art Breakfast & Tour of She Who Tells a Story
21 September 2019 | time TBD

2nd Friday ArtWalk
Through Her Lens: Modern Arab Women Telling Their Stories in Art and Literature
11 October 2019 | 6:30-8 PM

Featuring the 2019 Man Booker Prize-winner Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (translator Marilyn Booth). Cohosted by Carolina Public Humanities.
Advance ticket required. Ticket price includes a copy of the book and light refreshments at the program.

Artist Talk: Rania Matar
23 October 2019 | 7 PM

Free and open to the public; RSVP requested.

Family & Friends Sunday
27 October 2019 | 2-5 PM

2nd Friday ArtWalk
Pop-Up Artist Books Show from the Sloane Art Library
8 November 2019 | 6-8:30 PM

SHe Who Tells A Story Guided Tours

Free, drop-in tour of She Who Tells A Story, led by an Ackland docent

2 October 2019 | 1:30 PM
9 October 2019 | 1:30 PM
16 October 2019 | 1:30 PM
25 October 2019 | 1:30 PM
30 October 2019 | 1:30 PM
13 November 2019 | 1:30 PM
15 November 2019 | 1:30 PM
20 November 2019 | 1:30 PM
21 November 2019 | 1:30 PM
22 November 2019 | 1:30 PM
27 November 2019 | 1:30 PM
29 November 2019 | 1:30 PM

Last Look Tour with Peter Nisbet
1 December 2019 | 3:30 PM

Ackland Film Forum

Recent films by Arab women filmmakers, Tuesdays at the Varsity Theater, titles to be announced
Presented in connection with She Who Tells A Story

Dates to be announced shortly


Image credit: Gohar Dashti (b. 1980). Untitled #5. From the series Today’s Life and War, 2008. Pigment print. Courtesy of the artist, Azita Bina and Robert Klein Gallery, Boston. Used with artist’s permission.