WHAT I SAW: She Who Tells A Story @ the NMWA


Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World on view April 08–July 31, 2016.

You feel as though you’re walking into sacred space upon entering the She Who Tells As Story exhibition. This impressive photographic exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC is the work of 12 featured artists and includes over 80 photographs and video installations. Their provocative works were created within the last decade ranging in genre from portraiture, documentary, and staged narratives. The images are compelling narratives about feminine identity, war, occupation, and protest.

These female artists challenge stereotypes of the people and cultures of Iran and the Arab world, as well as, expose the oppression  of Arab and Iranian women. Each artist has her own portrayal and expression of the world she has witnessed.

The Arabic word rawiya meaning “she who tells a story” is the inspiration behind the exhibition.

This collective of women photographers based in the Middle East was founded in 2009. Their exhibition will have a global imprint at a time when women’s empowerment in this region of the world is being challenged.


These powerful images ask viewers to think about their preconceived ideas and opinions about politics, family, and identity in the Middle East.


This selection deeply characterizes how Arab and Iranian women are creating change and taking ownership in their society through creativity and in some instances humor.


She Who Tells A Story featured 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

– See more at: http://nmwa.org/exhibitions/she-who-tells-story#sthash.05HkLf0A.dpuf

– See more at: http://nmwa.org/exhibitions/she-who-tells-story#sthash.XPP7bWm9.dpuf

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Cecilia Mencia is founder of DCTrending.com and an independent, DC-based journalist.

ARTSCecilia Mencia