''She Who Tells a Story," at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, is unlike any contemporary art show at the moment. Bringing together photographs and videos by 12 women from Iran and the Arab countries, it introduces issues and names that will be unfamiliar to audiences in the U.S., even among the highly informed.
Opening the show is Ms. Essaydi's three-part photograph of an elegantly dressed woman lying on a bed in a tiled room. Only on close inspection is it apparent that the golden tinge of the image, with its air of luxe et volupté, comes from hundreds of metal bullet casings used to construct the mosaiclike décor. Relying on the illusion of trompe l'oeil, and poses that refer to icons of Western painting by Ingres and Klimt, she has cleverly—maybe too glibly—asked her audience to question the supposed truth of photographs.
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