Views from inside the Middle East
Saturday 10 November 2012
Rather than constant news flashes about the political upheavals in the Middle East – a new photography show at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum gives a refreshing slant on the region’s struggles, all taken by Middle Eastern photographers.
The Iranian Newsha Tavakolian, 31, has photographed mums in 2006 holding photographs of their sons who were killed in the Iran-Iraq war during the Eighties; the Egyptian Nermine Hammam, 45, places soldiers she photographed during the protests in Cairo’s Tahir Square in 2011 into a technicolour fantasy world setting.
The internationally known Lebanese photographer Walid Raad, 45, has photographed two pages of a fictional notebook containing images of cars used as a car bomb in the civil wars in Lebanon. While Atiq Rahimi, 50, from Afghanistan has used a primitive box camera to take photographs of Kabul in 2002 after the fall of the Taliban.
The Collection has been developed since 2009 with the V&A and the British Museum, sponsored by the Art Fund, to address the under-representation of Middle Eastern photography in UK collections.
“I’m really pleased to be including work depicting the recent Egyptian revolution by Hammam, but in general I think it is too early to be looking for well-considered artistic responses to unfolding events because it is a time of great trauma,” says Dr Marta Weiss, Curator of Photographs at the V&A. “It took a decade or more to see interesting work being made relating to the events of the Lebanese civil war in 1975 to 1990. There are practical concerns too - it’s not necessarily the best circumstance for making art.”
As a prelude to the show are a series of images of the Iranian revolution taken in the late Seventies by the Iranian Magnum photojournalist Abbas, 68, but otherwise the show largely records the last decade.
It’s not all war torn memories either – the Iranian Shadi Ghadirian, 38, recreates 19th century Iranian studio portraits updating them with contemporary props including sun glasses and Pepsi. The Iranian Mehraneh Atashi, 32, has entered the world of the Iranian gym, which is banned to women – inserting herself in the photographs by using mirrors.
“Conflict is one of several themes that comes up in the photographs, but it is not a show about war or current events - it’s a show about photography.”
Light from the Middle East: New Photography’ Victoria and Albert Museum, London SW7 (www.vam.ac.uk) 13 November to 7 April 2013
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
Suicide Squad: Leaked footage shows first look at Batmobile chasing Joker through city streets
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
ASAP Rocky gives nauseating response to explicit Rita Ora rap: 'I'm not saying she's a terrible person'
ASAP Rocky sparks outrage with misogynistic lyrics about Rita Ora in new song 'Better Things'
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote