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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Women Defining Women in Contemporary Art of the Middle East and Beyond, an exhibition comprising works by artists who were born or live in what can broadly be termed Islamic societies.

Hayv Kahraman, Search, 2016. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased by AHAN: Studio Forum, with additional funds provided by Holly and Albert Baril, 2017. Art Here and Now purchase. © Hayv Kahraman

Depicting a breadth of inventively and often ideologically conceived women’s imagery, the works bear witness to rapidly shifting political developments and often accelerated social transformations taking place in lands extending from Africa to Western, Central, and Southern Asia, as well as in diasporic communities.

Across generations and working in different media, the artists share a common sense of identity not exclusively Middle Eastern but certainly female, expressing both personal and universal concerns.

Included in the exhibition are around 75 works by 42 artists in a variety of media, most of which are in LAMA’s collection, with several newly acquired works on display at the museum for the first time, as well as a specially commissioned work by Rania Matar of the actress Iman Vellani, who plays Kamala Khan in the Disney+ miniseries Ms. Marvel.

“All the works in Women Defining Women are by women artists, and all depicting images of women. Each, through her unique vision, is fashioning not only her own definition of self but is helping to redefine and empower women everywhere,” said Linda Komaroff, Curator and Department Head, Art of the Middle East, at LACMA, who curated the exhibition. “In fact, half of LACMA’s Art of the Middle East’s Contemporary collection is made up of work by female artists, which is unique to contemporary museum collections.”

The exhibition opened on the 23rd of April and will be closing on the 24th of September, 2023. For more information, please visit Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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