International Women’s Day (IWD) is considered as a day of celebrating respect and love for the fair sex, and at the same time a day to commemorate the struggle to achieve gender parity. In many regions, the event has lost its political association but for us IWD is a reminder, each year, of the struggle for what seems to be obvious, realizing women’s rights for gender equality.
In this collection of works from The Igal Ahouvi Art Collection, we’ve chosen to focus on the series of works “Ashlon Beauty” by Hanna Sahar – a series of portraits that depict the way in which we look at women of different ages.
Hanna Sahar, Untitled (from Ashlon Beauty), 2010
In the series “Ashlon Beauty” (“such beauty” in Iraqi) Hanna Sahar portrays women of Iraqi descent in different phases of their life, their faces photographed and portrayed on neutral background to highlight their age, status, and empower the imagination. Sahar choses to photograph portraits of Mizrahi (oriental) women – young and old, family women, especially her mother’s face-portrait, in which she identifies feminine power. The disassociation from the body of the photographed woman is also a disassociation from the surroundings from which she comes.
Sahar doesn’t dictate reality to us as she sees it, but rather choses to empower the existing. The photographs are taken in the dark – some in bold colors and others more serene – some through long-exposure which create a slight blur that contributes to the unique appearance of the photographed women.
Sarit Shapira, exhibition catalogue:
“…If there is a common denominator to this pantheon of women (beyond their Iraqi lineage), it has to do with this façade of secret holders—a secret whose existence is made known by their being at once close and distant, always in the foreground of the picture, while their gaze is fixed somewhere in the distance, in the fibers of their soul, somewhere no one would dare touch, and which belongs exclusively to a specific, one and only, unyielding, irreproducible, indivisible woman.”
What is the power of the woman photographed? and what does she feel?
We invite you to contemplate this issue in an era where a picture is worth a thousand words, but can also display a twisted reality.
Hanna Sahar (b. 1966, Tel-Aviv) is one of the most prominent artists of the middle generation in the Israeli field of photography. Sahar’s photographs encompass a wide range of issues – portraits, landscapes and celestial images, and in many of her works empower the un-realistic and magical aspect.
In 2009, Sahar began creating a series of multiple images called “Ashlon Beauty”, which dealt with portraits of women of Iraqi descent at various ages. In another series, Sahar depicted images of celestial landscapes, revealing the light, darkness and shadows in them. Sahar has solo exhibitions in Israel and around the world, participated in group exhibitions and her works are included in collections of leading museums and private collections.