Unpacking the many manifestations of "erotic capital", the photographers reflect on the surreal, grotesque, humorous and charged visuals associated with the everyday body politics of Arab women. Chahine and Falaknaz will be speaking in depth about their respective practices and how they came to produce the projects presented in the exhibition.
In Bless Your Beauty, Lebanon-based photographer Lara Chahine explores the pressure to attain ‘sacred’ beauty ideals, at any cost —physical, emotional, and financial. As part of her first major photo series, Chahine’s expansive work covers the personal stories of women in Lebanon told during and after the October revolution, the pandemic and the Beirut blast. Chahine documents and presents the fraught urban landscape that produces these stories.
In Reem Falaknaz’s If a hymen breaks and no one hears it, the UAE/Oman-based photographer presents research into hymen repair remedies, documenting conversations with muftis, herbalists, sheikhs, doctors, and sorcerers. Falaknaz’s final product is a digital media project that appropriates internet culture, print media, literature, and oral history to shed light on the covert ways that women must navigate socioreligious practices, herbalism, sorcery, and medical malpractice.