Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat uses film, video, and photography to explore issues of gender and identity, with a particular focus on women's relationships with religious cultural systems of Islam.
Her artwork centers on the contrasts between Islam and the West, femininity and masculinity, public life and private life, antiquity and modernity, and bridging the spaces between these subjects
Since Iran has undermined basic human rights, particularly since the Islamic Revolution she has said that she has "gravitated toward making art that is concerned with tyranny, dictatorship, oppression and political injustice. Although I don’t consider myself an activist, I believe my art – regardless of its nature – is an expression of protest, a cry for humanity.”
In 1974, aged 17, Neshat moved from Iran to the United States to study art at the University of California, Berkeley. During her absence, the country became an Islamic republic following the 1979 revolution. On returning in 1990, she was struck by the cultural and political changes that had taken place, one significant change being the introduction of laws requiring women to dress according to Islamic tradition. This experience led Neshat to explore gender in Islamic societies, with the veil becoming a central image in her photographic and video work.
Pic and credits by Shirin Nesha
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