Portrait, of a woman wearing sunglasses looking towards the viewer. Extended arms are behind her. She is wearing a black top with yellow spots.

Past exhibition

17 May – 15 August 2021

Room 90

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This display weaved together a rich tapestry of artistic expression from artists born in, or connected to, countries from Iran to Morocco. 

With drawings by artists trained everywhere from Paris to Jerusalem, and subject matters ranging from the Syrian uprisings to the burning of the National Library of Baghdad, it offered new views of societies whose challenges are well-known in the press but are little known through the prism of contemporary art.

Featuring around 100 works on paper – from etchings to photographs and artists' books – the majority of works in the exhibition had been collected in the past decade. They highlighted topics of gender, identity, history and politics, while also exploring poetic traditions and the intersections between past and present. There was no single narrative but a multiplicity of stories.

To coincide with the exhibition, the British Museum published a richly illustrated accompanying book of the same name, written by Venetia Porter with Natasha Morris and Charles Tripp.

Supported by

The Contemporary and Modern Middle Eastern Art (CaMMEA) acquisitions group

In addition to their generous support of this display, the acquisition of many of the works in Reflections: contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa has been made possible thanks to the tireless work of the members of CaMMEA. The group was formed in 2009 and has enabled the Museum to add substantially to the collection of contemporary and modern Middle Eastern works on paper, which has been in existence since the late 1980s.