Preparations are underway for the first Middle Eastern exhibition of contemporary photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.
Titled Light from the Middle East: New Photography, the exhibition takes place this November and will feature more than 90 works focusing on the region, by 30 artists from North Africa to Central Asia.
Over the years, Middle Eastern photography has become increasingly sophisticated, however, it has been underrepresented in British collections. The upcoming exhibition comes in response to the surge of interest in the region’s visual arts. Marta Weiss, curator of the exhibition, reiterates this point: ‘Contemporary photographic practice from and about the Middle East has been some of the most exciting, innovative and varied art anywhere in the world.’
The exhibition demonstrates how photographers in the region have managed to capture the changes that have shaped the Middle East over the past 20 years, through their own prism.
Exhibiting artists include internationally-renowned practitioners such as Youssef Nabil from Egypt, Walid Raad from Lebanon, Iranian Shadi Ghadirian and Abdulnasser Ghanem from Saudi Arabia.
Structured around three themes; Recording, Reframing and Resisting, each will explore a range of strategies Middle Eastern artists have used to engage with the medium of photography. Newsha Takavolian, Iranian photojournalist addresses women’s role in society, in her series, Mothers of Martyrs. In the poetic series of Le Retour Imaginaire, Afghani artist Atiq Rahimi rejects up-to-date technology, opting instead to photograph war-ravished Kabul with a primitive box camera.
Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund Director says: ‘This new collection of photography created by the V&A and the British Museum with Art Fund support is being formed at a time of profound change in the Middle East. Artists and photographers, as cultural commentators, are themselves amongst the agents of change. We much look forward to the exhibition in the autumn which will showcase highlights from this important new collecting initiative.’
*Light from the Middle East:New Photography takes place from November 13 2012 – April 7 2013 in the Porter Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Photography: Courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum
Image 1: From the series ‘Mothers of Martyrs’ by Newsha Tavakolian
Image 2: Wonder Beirut #13, Modern Beirut, International Centre of Water-Skiing’, from the series ‘Wonder Beirut’ by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Image 3: From the series Upekkha, 2011 by Nermine Hammam