Artists Using Photography

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Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

FATIMA AL QADIRI Bored, 1997, 2008, Digital print, 65 x 79 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Al Qadiri is a young Kuwaiti video and performance artist concerned with deconstructing the binary of gender as well as making art that critiques the consumerism of contemporary Kuwaiti society which she sees as an influence of the “West.” This composite photo consists of photographs she took of herself in 1997 when she was a teenager. In them, she dresses in men’s clothing, representing different aspects of being male.


Arts Council of Princeton,Taplin Gallery, Paul Robeson Center Princeton, NJ

MONIRA AL QADIRI The Tragedy of Self (Series 3) 2009, 2012, Photographs with paint and gold leaf on canvas, 47 x 51, each 16 x 14 inches

These are self portraits in which she dresses as a man/woman in garb that can be interpreted as a chador or a monk’s robe, like her sister, Fatima, deconstructing social constructions of gender in East and West.


Princeton University Art Museum
Bernstein Gallery, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

PARASTOU FOROUHAR, Swan Rider III from the four-part series Swan Rider, 2004, Digital C-print mounted on alubond, 31 1/2 x 31 1/2 in. (80 x 80 cm), Courtesy of the RH Gallery, New York, and the artist

Princeton University Art Museum

PARASTOU FOROUHAR, Freitag (Friday), 2003, Aludobond, Four panels, Each 66 7/8 x 33 7/8 in. (170 x 86 cm), Courtesy of the RH Gallery, New York,and the artist

Bernstein Gallery, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

In Freitag Forouhar takes a chador and turns it into a decorative wall from which emerges a diffident hand which can be interpreted sexually or as a critique of the “veil.” Forouhar, although Iranian in heritage lives now in Germany. In her Swanrider series in which women in chadors ride on the backs of swans that are actually swan boats Forouhar satirizes German folklore as in Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin as well as using the veil as an iconographic image. In this case, these women are powerful rather than submissive, thus allowing an interpretation of the work as a critique of “Orientalism,” the Western view that the women behind the veils are weak.


Bernstein Gallery, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

SHADI GHADIRIAN, From the series Miss Butterfly, 2011, Fifteen photographs, 27 1/2 x 39 3/8 in. (70 x 100 cm), Courtesy of the artist

Ghadirian is concerned with identity of women. In this series, she uses the image of the spider’s web as a metaphor for the social web in which women are caught.

The vulnerability of women emerges as a central theme in Shadi Ghadirian’s Miss Butterfly series (2001), consisting of fifteen photographs of a single woman in interior settings in which the woman is isolated. Ghadirian aims the camera shots high, to emphasize the prison-like walls of the rooms in which the woman is enclosed. Webs are visible in most of the photographs. In her description of the series, Ghadirian tells the story of a butterfly who is caught in a spider’s web. Impressed by the butterfly’s beauty, the spider tells her that if she brings him other insects, he will help her escape. The butterfly doesn’t want to betray the other insects and offers herself, instead. The spider is so moved by her courage that he ultimately allows her to escape.


Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

SHIRIN NESHAT, Rebellious Silence, 1994, from the eleven part series Women of Allah, 1993–97, Photo credit: Cynthia Preston, RC black-and-white print and ink, Framed: 52 x 36 1/2 in. (132.1 x 92.7 cm), Courtesy of the Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels

Neshat comments in this series on the status of women, nationalism, Islam, the Persian legacy, all at once.

Shirin Neshat’s series of photographs Women of Allah (1993– 97) is an early feminist intervention into the social/ political construction of Iranian women from the perspective of an Iranian woman living in exile. The photographs consist of various parts of Neshat’s own body in a chador, with Farsi text inscribed across her face, hands, or feet, often with a gun barrel placed across the image.


Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series Galleries, Rutgers University (solo shows)

FATIMAH TUGGAR, At the Meat Market, 2000, Computer montage (inkjet on vinyl), 32 x 96 in. (81.3 x 243.8 cm), Courtesy of BintaZarah Studios, New York

FATIMAH TUGGAR At the Water Tap, 2000 Computer montage (ink jet on vinyl), 33 x 96 inches, Courtesy of Binta Zarah Studios, New York

Tuggar shows the impact of the Middle East cultural diaspora on black Africa. A Nigerian artist, Tuggar is concerned with the clash of cultures, economic disparity, and social stereotypes.

Tuggar’s birth country, Nigeria, is the African nation with the highest percentage of Muslims. She now lives in the United States, adding another dimension to her life and work. Tuggar’s method of working reflects her multi-faceted identity. Through her art, she deconstructs the concept of a homogeneous Africa and the nostalgia associated with it. She creates collages, for instance, from photographs of black women in Muslim or tribal dress, contrasted with images of white middle-class women.