The Arabic word “rawiya” translates to “she who tells a story,” which also happens to be the name of a new exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, opening April 8 and running through July 31. She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World presents more than 80 photographs, along with a video installation, by 12 contemporary women artists who challenge stereotypes about the region and shed light on the political and social issues faced by Arab communities.
Among the featured artists is internationally renowned filmmaker and photographer Shirin Neshat, whose earliest works questioned notions of femininity and veiling in the Arab world. She continues to confront indigenous and Western portrayals of Middle Eastern women. Photojournalist Newsha Tavakolian’s Listen series gives a voice to women singers who are not allowed to perform solo or produce their own music due to Islamic regulations in place since the 1979 revolution.
The landmark exhibition aims to open a cultural dialogue on a national level about the complexities of being a woman, and woman artist, in the Arab world.