Women hanging handkerchiefs on barbwire. Lovers picnicking in a war-zone surrounded by helmets. A couple sitting in a dilapidated car on their wedding day. These are some of the images that Iranian photographer, Gohar Dashti, created for her series entitled Today’s Life and War. She grew up during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) in a town near the Iranian border, where warfare was routine and civilians were caught in a constant conflict.

Her native Iran is her narrative where she explores the impact of war on its citizens and contemporary society. Her images reflect on its history, societal identity, revolution, topography (volcanoes, specifically) and feminism. They speak to the impact on every man, woman, and child and juxtaposes imagery of daily life and war.  Nature is usually the backdrop in most of her series which represents a refuge where the sky and mountains are a sanctum.

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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.