RAWIYA: We Do Not Choose Our Dictators

Fort Worth Contemporary Arts
March 4 – May 13, 2017
Opening reception, Saturday, March 4th 6-9pm
with brief comments by artists Tanya Habjouqa & Tasneem Alsultan at 7pm

Translated from Arabic as “She who tells a story,” RAWIYA originally formed in 2009 as an all-female photography collective. By sharing resources and networks, the members expand the reach of their work which energetically engages in an international dialogue around human rights and social justice. As a group of documentary photographers from across the Middle East, often with day jobs in journalism or a commercial context, the members use the platform of the collective to investigate social and political stories they feel are invisible, and as a means to explore more personal creative practices. RAWIYA's presentation includes work by Myriam Abdelaziz, Tamara Abdul Hadi, Tasneem Alsultan, Laura Boushnak, Tanya Habjouqa and new collective members Ghaith Abdul-Ahad and Zied Ben Romdhane.

We Do Not Choose Our Dictators features a selection of photographic works by RAWIYA that respond to and reflect the daily lives of people affected by political upheaval in the Middle East. In attempting to negotiate, document and understand a swiftly changing social landscape, the photographers present new ways of seeing. Often their investigations employ humor and irony, while at other times their work is emotive and controversial. Collectively their photographs reveal subtleties of contemporary life in the Middle East that are surprising and life-affirming.

This is RAWIYA's first exhibition in Texas and the timing is significant. Since 2010, popular uprisings, protests and strikes throughout the Middle East have prompted a major geopolitical shift which has affected peace and stability in the region. The photographers are experienced witnesses and well-informed narrators of resistance and social change in this environment. The Art Galleries at TCU are excited to invite RAWIYA to Fort Worth at this auspicious moment in in TCU’s history.

A full program of talks and events to accompany the exhibition will be announced on our social media pages.

Egypt's Revolution, Protesters in Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt, 2011


Fort Worth Contemporary Arts is located at 2900 W. Berry St. on the edge of the TCU Campus, Fort Worth, TX 76109. Gallery Hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 12 – 5 pm,
and by appointment. Admission is free.

For more information about this exhibition, images for press, or details about other activities of the Art Galleries at TCU, please contact Sara-Jayne Parsons, Curator,, 817-257-2707, or Devon Nowlin, Gallery Manager,, 817-257-2588.