Thursday, June 16, 2016

Students tour exhibit that shows Islamic world through women's eyes

LCI students tour the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Last week, students and faculty in Fairfax took a field trip to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. There, they saw an exhibition, "She Who Tells a Story."

This landmark exhibition of more than 80 photographs and a video installation challenges stereotypes surrounding the people, landscapes, and cultures of Iran and the Arab world. "She Who Tells a Story" refutes the conventional idea that Arab and Iranian women are oppressed or powerless, illuminating the fact that women are creating some of the most significant photographic work in the region today.

Their provocative works, most created within the past decade, include portraiture, documentary, and staged narratives. Many of the artists develop expansive series of images that create compelling narratives about feminine identity, war, occupation, and protest.

Below, read essays by two students on their reactions to the field trip.

A not-so-simple photo

By Alaa Hijazi

On the second day of Ramadhan, the LCI organized a field trip to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. We went there with our colleagues and our professors.

A family in Gaza City enjoys a picnic on the beach in this photo from
Tanya Habjouqa's "Women of Gaza" series.
Even though it was hard for me to join this trip while I was fasting, the photos there fascinated me and made me forget my tiredness. One of the photos, which is from the series "Women of Gaza" and is drawn by the artist Tanya Habjouqa, really spoke to me. I saw the simplicity of life in that photo when I saw the family in that photo is trying to entertain themselves near the sea and sit close together talking although they live in war and there are no other people there. The family in that photo lives under conflicts and in difficult circumstances, but they seek to please themselves and forget their suffering from the war.

This photo is connected to me because it reminded me of some of my relatives who suffer from war in Syria, yet they are resistant. They also go to have family outings in spite of the tough lives they live.

That photo gave me a lesson that even if you have difficulties, you should try to overcome these difficulties and look at happiness in everything in your life especially when you see those people who live harder life than yours and they still search about happiness.

Spotlighting women artists of the past and today

By Sultan Alobaidan

On June 7, the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute planned for all students who study during Summer I to visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Around 8:15 a.m., we walked toward the station in Fairfax, Va., to reach D.C. area. When we got closer to the museum, we saw on the door of the museum its name" “National Museum of Women in the Arts.” We entered the museum, and the first thing we saw was a woman, who was talking to us about history of the museum.

High school students enjoy a field trip on the Mediterranean Sea off
the Gazan coast. Tanya Habjouqa, "Women of Gaza."
Founded in 1987, NMWA is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to recognizing women’s creative contributions. By bringing to light remarkable female artists of the past while also promoting the best women artists working today, the museum directly addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art in the U.S. and abroad, thus assuring great women artists a place of honor now and into the future‫.

There are many sections, and each one presents different pictures that have many meanings. Some of these display protest and revolt. For example, one of the sections is about Tanya Habjouqa. It shows series “Women of Gaza.” One of the pictures showed how some students who graduated from English literature and celebration their graduation on a boat trip.

The museum shows the history of some women from the Middle East, and the stages they went through.‬‬

It was a short trip, but it was not interesting because it just contains many of fictional images.

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