Shams (L), who won the Student Union elections at her university in Tunis, sits with her colleagues at her favorite spot, which is graffitied with an image of assassinated Lebanese thinker Mahdi Amel. Shams, a street poet and activist, said that Amel’s slogans were painted over in white by some conservative students.

Shams (L), who won the Student Union elections at her university in Tunis, sits with her colleagues at her favorite spot, which is graffitied with an image of assassinated Lebanese thinker Mahdi Amel. Shams, a street poet and activist, said that Amel’s slogans were painted over in white by some conservative students.

Rawiya presents “In Her Absence I Created Her Image,” an exhibit of documentary photography at Open Source Gallery. Rawiya, meaning “she who tells a story,” is the first all-female photography collective from the Middle East. This exhibit will be on view at Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn from May 7-28. There will be an opening reception on May 7 from 7-9pm and a related panel discussion on May 12 from 7-9pm.

“In Her Absence I Created Her Image” will explore the lives of communities and individuals in the Middle East through documentary photography, focusing on social, political, and human rights issues across Arab countries. At a time when Islamophobia in the U.S. runs rampant and many view the Middle East with suspicion, efforts to create understanding are of the utmost importance. This exhibit, the title of which is inspired by a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, includes work by photographers Laura Boushnak, Tanya Habjouqa, Myriam Abdelaziz, and Tamara Abdul Hadi, members of the Rawiya photography collective. Rawiya aims to dispel stereotypes about this often misunderstood and underrepresented region by shining a light on the everyday hardships and shared experiences of its inhabitants, thereby encouraging a more compassionate and empathetic worldview. Within “In Her Absence I Created Her Image,” individual projects and varied themes contribute to an overarching theme of humanity, dignity, and empowerment.

http://www.opensourcegallery.org