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

August 27, 2013–January 12, 2014
Henry and Lois Foster Gallery (Gallery 158)

Provocative work challenges perceptions of Middle Eastern identity

“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.

These prominent photographers have tackled the very notion of representation with passion and power, questioning tradition and challenging perceptions of Middle Eastern identity. Their provocative work ranges from fine art to photojournalism and provides insights into political and social issues, including questions of personal identity and exploring the complex political and social landscapes of their home regions in images of great sophistication, expressiveness, and beauty.

Gohar Dashti, Untitled #5, From the series “Today’s Life and War,” 2008, Chromogenic print. Copyright Gohar Dashti. Courtesy Galerie WHITE PROJECT Paris. Reproduced with permission.

In the News

12/28/13 The Boston Globe "Sebastian Smee’s 2013 visual art picks"
12/27/13 The New York Times "Islamic World Through Women’s Eyes"
12/23/13 The Daily Beast "Must-See: The Best Art Exhibits of 2013"
10/2/13 The Economist "Behind the veil"
10/1/13 PRI's The World "A mother, daughter, and her doll challenge conservative taboos in Yemen"
9/20/13 BBC News, TV and Online "She Who Tells a Story: Female lens on Iran and the Arab world"
9/1/13 The Boston Globe "The Middle East through women’s cameras"
9/1/13 The Boston Globe "Storyteller visits MFA’s ‘She Who Tells a Story’"
9/1/13 MetroWest Daily News "'She Who Tells A Story' at the MFA"
8/28/13 The Daily Mail (UK) "Life behind the veil: Stunning photographs seek to challenge Western misconceptions of what life is like for Middle Eastern women"
8/27/13 PRI's The World "Photographer Documents Middle Eastern Teenagers"
8/26/13 The New York Times Lens blog "A Show of Strength by Middle Eastern Women Photographers"
8/25/13 The New York Times Book Review "Chronicles: Memoirs by women"
7/17/13 Huffington Post "Arab and Iranian Female Photographers Collide For 'She Who Tells a Story' At MFA Boston (PHOTOS)"


This exhibition is generously supported by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.
Additional support from the Barbara Jane Anderson Fund.