Shirin Neshat supports the Iranian opposition, loves contradictions and sees herself as a freedom fighter who uses the weapons of art against the oppression of Islamic women.
Artist, filmmaker and photographer, Shirin Neshat was born in Iran in 1957, and now lives in New York. Her international breakthrough followed a series of black and white photographs: “Women of Allah.” In 1990, eleven years after the start of the Islamic Revolution, Shirin Neshat captured her impressions of Iran’s transformation in large-format photographs. Provocative images that depict femininity and violence: Women wearing a chador and carrying a rifle, prepared for battle, yet defenseless. Major international exhibitions followed, highly acclaimed video productions, a feature film debut at the Venice Film Festival and an opera production in Salzburg in the summer of 2017: Verdi’s “Aida” – the story of a stranger, a refugee crushed between male powers, the clergy, the military and the state. Her second feature film, “Looking for Oum Kulthum,” soon followed. The film, an encounter with arguably the most famous singer in the Arab world, is scheduled for release in 2018. We speak with Shirin Neshat about her art, female identity, life between two cultures, the Western perception of the Muslim world, about the struggle for liberation, emancipation and her greatest trauma, exile.
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