UNT Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute presents "Open Shutters Iraq"

Monday, May 3, 2010

What: Open Shutters Iraq -- An exhibition presented by the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute at the University of North Texas.

When/Where: April 7 (Wednesday) – May 21 (Friday)
Open Shutters Iraq photography exhibition UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St. on Denton courthouse square

Cost: Free and open to the public

Contact: Dr. Nada Shabout, director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute, at (940) 565-4027 or nada.shabout@unt.edu

Dr. Sadaf Munshi, assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics and Technical Communication, at (940) 369-8944 or sadafmunshi@unt.edu

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- A group of women surviving war and devastation in Iraq found their voices when peering through the lens of a camera. Their photographs turned into a traveling exhibition, Open Shutters Iraq, shown at the University of North Texas.

The exhibition is being presented by the UNT Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute, which was established in 2008 with a research and service mission to better understand the contemporary Arab and Muslim worlds. The interdisciplinary institute is composed of faculty from the visual arts, social sciences, and humanities at UNT.

"Open Shutters Iraq exposes a side of Iraqi society generally neglected by media: the personal experiences of Iraqi women from different backgrounds, including the educated middle class," said Dr. Nada Shabout, director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute at UNT. "While it shows the suffering of Iraqi society, it gives back to Iraqi women the voices they are denied by current political and media representations."

The Open Shutters Iraq photography project began in 2006 when British photojournalist Eugenie Dolberg gathered a group of Iraqi women in Damascus for a month to teach them how to take photographs. The 12 women shared their life stories, talking about their joys and opening up about surviving wars, death threats and kidnappings. They later returned to Iraq, where they used their newfound strength in photography to capture their stories. Filmmaker Maysoon Pachachi followed the project, creating a 102-minute documentary.

The photographic essays and writings of nine Iraqi women from Open Shutters Iraq will be on display April 7 (Wednesday) through May 21 (Friday) at UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St. on the Denton courthouse square.

The project is made possible in part by the Department of Art History in the UNT College of Visual Arts and Design, the UNT Department of Linguistics and Technical Communication, the UNT Multicultural Center and UNT Women's Center and by grants from Texas Humanities (the state affiliate of the National Endowment for Humanities) and Wells Fargo.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108