Louder Than Hearts at the Middle East Institute (MEI) features the work of ten women artists from the Arab World and Iran who capture the resilience, strength, beauty, and creativity of women in the region, often in the face of great adversity.

The leading Egyptian, Iranian, Jordanian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Saudi, and Yemeni photographers represented in the show explore the diversity of experiences and personal narratives told by women across a vast geographic area. Each project showcased is deeply personal, each story distinct. Yet together, these works underscore the shared humanity of women, weaving together the threads of personal and collective life experiences while providing insights into the artists' perspectives and realities, as well as their strengths and vulnerabilities.

Iranian women dye their hair shades of purple and blue in defiance of the state; Lebanese women stand tall in the midst of their country’s political chaos and destruction; Egyptian women grapple with the challenges of single motherhood as well as body image and the countless societal pressures and expectations that accompany it. Through their work, the artists weave together the threads of their protagonists’ collective life experiences, amplifying the role of women as voices of strength, courage, and hope.

The exhibition reveals the role of both the photographers and their protagonists as trailblazers and catalysts for change in their communities, providing a portrait of women in the Middle East as voices of peace, courage, and hope.

The exhibition is presented in partnership with Tribe, a non-profit publication and platform focused on documenting photography, film and video from the Arab world, and is made possible with the generous support of MEI Board of Governors member and professional photographer Anne B. Keiser.

The title is adopted from a poetry collection on love and loss by Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck.