Breaking the Veils exhibition breaks the silence on women and Islam

Hosted by The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne and curated by HRH Princess Widjan Al Hashemi of Jordan, the exhibition aims to remove the ‘veils’ of misconception and misunderstanding that distort the image of women in Islamic countries.

The exhibition highlights the works of fifty-one women artists who live in twenty-one Islamic countries around the world. Many of the artists are practising professionals with degrees in fine art, while others are self-taught. Although the works do not represent any particular religion – the individual faiths of the women include Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism – the exhibition embodies those cultures that are rooted in the Islamic tradition.


This exhibition is a unique celebration of the diverse ways in which women from Islamic countries see the world and gives us a better understanding of these women’s lives.

The subject matter of the artistic works reflects universal social and feminist themes, including politics, identity and relationships, as well as messages of freedom and human dignity. Meriam Bouderbala’s deceptively simple and direct works, for example, are highly symbolic but rich in meaning (see Image above). In contrast, the dreamlike compositions of Souad Attar delve into classical Arab myths, folk tales and poetry, and explore the secret world of male/female sexuality (see Image below -The Blue Paradise).


Dr Khalid Khreis, Director General of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, will oversee the exhibition while it is in Melbourne.

“We are honoured that this exhibition is being presented to the people of Australia. Since 2002, these works have been displayed in galleries throughout Europe, where they have been warmly received. It is our hope that the exhibition will promote a better understanding of women from the Islamic world and Islamic culture,” Dr Khreis explained.

You may download a Brochure for the exhibition. Exhibition Brochure [PDF, 1Mb]

Selection of Images

You may view a selection of images from this Exhibition. (Coming soon…)

The presentation has been made possible by the support of the Australian Government. Other sponsors include NAB, Australian Multicultural Foundation and the City of Melbourne. The exhibition will run from 24 October – 10 November.


Breaking the Veils exhibition

Wednesday 24 October 2007 until 10 November, 2007
SPAN Galleries, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Friday 25 January, 2008 until Sunday 23 March, 2008
Shepparton Art Gallery, Eastbank Centre,
70 Welsford Street, Shepparton.
Phone: 03-5832 9861
Open 7 days per week, 10am-4pm. Public Holidays 1pm-4pm


Floor Talks in Melbourne

Wednesday 31 October 1pm – 2pm Why Women? There Are Four Reasons
Bishop John Bayton, AM, Artist, Theologian, Visiting Fellow Trinity College Theological School
Download Bishop Bayton’s Floor Talk

Wednesday 31 October 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Contemporary Australian Islamic Art: A Woman’s Perspective
Nur Shkembi, Firhana Imam, Sherene Hassan, Huda Merhi

Wednesday 7 November 1pm – 2pm
Contemporary Australian Islamic Art: A Woman’s Perspective
Nur Shkembi, Firhana Imam, Huda Merhi, Maryam Bekris

Read Nur Shkembi’s Floor Talk

Download Flyer

Media Interview with Prof. Khalid Khreis, director-general of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Art.

Video coming soon…