Discover works by these four trailblazing women artists in the Middle East
“Women have always been at the centre of my images,” says Lebanese photographer and filmmaker Yasmina Hilal, whose layered works distort the “ideal beauty” often represented in fashion photography. Using a collage technique, Hilal manipulates what we see – and how we see it. In some instances, she cuts her photographs up into strips, sticking them onto another image and building volume. In her work entitled Jupon, this technique is employed to mimic the shape of the skirt worn by a model. Using different types of paper and textures, she superimposes her images, sometimes using acetate – a material she loves for its likeness to film roll, and its “ghostly effect”.
Hilal is one of the powerful female voices showcased at the fourth edition of Menart Fair (2023), which brought a trove of artists from 11 countries across the Middle East and North Africa to Paris in September. Inside the historic 20th-century Palais d’Iéna, the female gaze reigned in its varying perspectives. “I am happy and proud to see that some of the biggest online art platforms and galleries in the MENA region that shed light on female artists, such as Emergeast, Hunna and Mathqaf, are also led by inspiring female curators,” says Palestinian artist Reem R., whose own still-life works are imbued with meaning that is often symbolic and cultural, and at other times personal.