All-female photography collective aims to give voice to Middle Eastern women

Sideshow
Untitled," from the Mothers of Martyrs

"Untitled," from the Mothers of Martyrs series, 2006 © Newsha Tavakolian

Courtesy of the New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham/curated by NAE and Saleem Arif Quadry

In all of the discussion about gender and politics in the Middle East, the voices of women living in the region are often missing. The Middle East's first all-female photography collective, Rawiya, aims to change that.

An exhibit of their work co-curated by the New Arts Exchange, Nottingham and Saleem Arif Quadry is currently touring the UK. 

Rawiya, which means "she who tells a story," formed in 2011. The exhibit "Realism in Rawiya: Photographing Stories from the Middle East" debuted at the New Arts Exchange in 2013. It features six female photographers — Myriam Abdelaziz, Tamara Abdul Hadi, Laura Boushnak, Tanya Habjouqa, Dalia Khamissy and Newsha Tavakolian. Despite the fact that women rarely have a public role in the politics of the region, the Rawiya collective's work takes an unflinching look at gender and identity.

Each photographer has a distinct style and approach to her subject matter, from photojournalism to surreal staged shots. And behind many of the photos a sense of danger lurks, intimated by shadow, color and, of course, subject matter.

"Untitled," from the I Read I Write series

"Untitled," from the I Read I Write series, 2009 - 2012 © Laura Boushnak

 

Credit:

Courtesy of the New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham/curated by NAE and Saleem Arif Quadry

"Untitled," from the Survivor series

"Untitled," from the Survivor series, 2007 - 2012 © Laura Boushnak

 

Credit:

Courtesy of the New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham/curated by NAE and Saleem Arif Quadry

"Untitled," from the Listen series

"Untitled," from the Listen series, 2011 © Newsha Tavakolian

Credit:

Courtesy of the New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham/curated by NAE and Saleem Arif Quadry

"Untitled," from the Mothers of Martyrs series

"Untitled," from the Mothers of Martyrs series, 2006 © Newsha Tavakolian

Credit:

Courtesy of the New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham/curated by NAE and Saleem Arif Quadry

"Untitled," from the Fragile Monsters Series

"Untitled," from the Fragile Monsters Series, 2009 © Tanya Habjouqa

 

Credit:

Courtesy of the New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham/curated by NAE and Saleem Arif Quadry

"Untitled," from the Missing series

"Untitled," from the Missing series, 2010 - ongoing © Dalia Khamissy

 

Credit:

Courtesy of the New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham/curated by NAE and Saleem Arif Quadry

"Untitled," from the series Picture an Arab Man

"Untitled," from the series Picture an Arab Man, 2009 — ongoing © Tamara Abdul Hadi

 

Credit:

Courtesy of the New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham/curated by NAE and Saleem Arif Quadry

This story comes from Sideshow, a blog and podcast from PRI's SoundWorks network.