Louder Than Hearts: Women Through the Lens of the Middle East and Iran

The Middle East Institute (MEI) Arts and Culture Center, in collaboration with Tribe, a nonprofit dedicated to documenting photography, film, and video from the Arab world, proudly presents “Louder Than Hearts: Women Photographers from the Arab World and Iran” at the MEI Art Gallery located at 1763 N Street NW, Washington DC, running from May 9, 2024, to October 4, 2024.

Chermine, Hamra, Beirut(2022) from Where Do I Go? Fifty Years Later series.Courtesy of the artist Rania Matar

Curated by the acclaimed photographer Rania Matar, this exhibition showcases the works of prominent photographers from Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Through deeply personal projects, these artists shed light on the distinctive journeys of women in the Middle East, shaped by the region’s social and political landscapes.

The Braids Rebellion (2018) 32 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist Safaa Khatib

Show highlights include Magnum photographer Newsha Tavakolian who explores Kurdish women fighters who battled ISIS; Jordanian photographer Tanja Habjouqa whose series Occupied Pleasures looks at the daily lives of Palestinian women under occupation; and curator Rania Matar whose series Where Do I Go? Fifty Years Later looks at the impact of Lebanon’s civil war and its aftermath on women’s lives.

Zahra (2022) from the How Shall We Greet the Sun series 16 x 24 in.Courtesy of the artist Thana Faroq

The exhibition features the work of accomplished female photographers: Rehaf Al Batniji (Palestine), Tasneem Alsultan (Saudi Arabia), Thana Faroq (Yemen/Netherlands), Tanya Habjouqa (Jordan/US), Shiva Khademi (Iran), Heba Khalifa (Egypt), Safaa Khatib (Palestine), Rania Matar (Lebanon/US), Newsha Tavakolian (Iran), Carmen Yahchouchi (Lebanon).

Diversity within Saudi weddings from the Saudi Tales of Love series (2015 – Ongoing) 20 x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist Tasneem Alsultan