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Review: Sabba Saleem Syal/ARC Gallery

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Much in the news as a site in the “war against terrorism,” Pakistan is for Sabba Saleem Syal a “contested” country without a fixed identity–a site in the culture wars of our time. To prove her point that diversity rules, Syal has cut out scores of informal color photos of Pakistani women of all kinds–veiled, head-scarved and decidedly modern–linked them with thread, and hung her construction on the gallery wall. The threads convey the message that these women are bound together tenuously as representatives of the same cultural scene. Yet their differences are stark. At one demonstration, women hold up a sign reading “Islamic Law As The Best Way.” At another the placard reads “Stop Violence Against Women.” Syal has provided through her tight conceptual photo art a welcome corrective to prevailing stereotypes. (Michael Weinstein)

Through August 14 at ARC Gallery, 832 W. Superior, #204

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